Amanda Zais, owner of Mavazi Apparel, is spearheading a fundraiser for the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs in memory of Marissa Ginter, who died last Friday. Ginter worked at the Kelowna store.
Amanda Zais, owner of Mavazi Apparel on Bernard Avenue, hopes to collect dozens of items for the auction, set to run Aug. 19-23 on Facebook.
All money from the auction will be directed to the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs, where Ginter had been an active member of a program that helps street-involved teens.
"Marissa was a really smart girl, a hard worker and very mature for her age," Zais said Wednesday. "She had lots of future goals. One of them was being a fashion designer, so she was just really in her zone working here."
For about a month, Ginter had been working three days a week at Mavazi, a boutique specializing in unique and trendy clothes for young women. She worked at the store last Thursday, and had been scheduled for shifts on Friday and Saturday.
On Friday morning, however, Ginter was found unresponsive in bed by a friend. An autopsy has been conducted, but the results of toxicology testing have not yet been released by the BC Coroners Service.
Ginter's death has been linked in media reports to the circulation in Kelowna last week of heroin that had been sold to teens who believed it was the club drug ecstasy.
Police issued a warning last Friday that three young people had fallen seriously ill after ingesting the drug. Police say Ginter knew the three teens, but it is not known what, if any, drugs she may have taken before she died.
Zais said she was shocked and upset to learn that Ginter had died. She is planning to donate a portion of her own store's sales this month to the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs.
As well, with the online auction in support of the club, Zais said she hoped to productively channel some of the public awareness and concern regarding Ginter's death.
"Maybe some good can come out of all the attention this has been receiving," Zais said.