This last week was filled with incredible Christmas celebrations and events in the community.
It’s a time of year where the lights, the festivities, the decorations, are all things that bring us together. I enjoyed attending the Tiny Tim Toy Drive and the Kettle Valley Santa Clause Parade.
Seeing all of the happy faces, the waves and the people gathered in the cold to watch the parade go by was heart warming. The parade was also purposeful, as Pam Turgeon from the Kettle Valley Public on Main Bar and Grill raised almost $60,000 for the Bridge Youth Treatment Centre through the parade.
But it’s not a happy and joyous season for all. It can be a difficult time for many, with mixed emotions and financial hardships that eclipse the light that this season should bring.
And this is why we need to support each other during this time.
One of the activities I love to be involved with is the Salvation Army and their kettle drive.
Singing (and sometimes dancing) along to the music playing at the store, jingling the bells, and greeting those walking in with a smile and “hello”, I feel such gratitude with each person’s willingness to donate their spare change, some dollar bills, or whatever they can afford.
This last week was disappointing for the Salvation Army and their fundraising efforts as they were forbidden to have their kettles outside of BC Liquor Stores.
This edict was from the top brass at the BC Liquor Distribution Branch that operates the BC Liquor Stores.
In their issued statement they stated that policy to stop having kettles at their locations was a “business decision”.
This ‘business decision’ will have a dramatic negative impact on the fundraising efforts of the Salvation Army, as over 10% of their donations in the interior come from these locations.
In my view, this decision is nonsensical.
Fortunately, after pressure from the public and others, the Minister reversed the bad decision and the Salvation Army is welcome to ring their bells at BC Liquor Stores.
This is the role of elected officials.
To speak up when department regulation or policy may cause harm or hardships unnecessarily to British Columbians, or when agencies have made mistakes.
This was the wrong decision, made at the wrong time.
And this season the needs are great.
Punishing Inflation is escalating the cost of living, and the majority of British Columbians are only $200 away from personal insolvency.
These factors and many more makes the holiday season particularly difficult. Donations to the Salvation Army could make a big difference.
So this Christmas season, please do what you can. There are so many excellent ways to participate in helping others.
Volunteering with Kelowna’s Santas and helping wrap and deliver presents, ringing the bells at the kettles, giving food or financials donations to the Food Banks – there are so many ways to give to your community!
I will certainly be involved this year, and I hope you will be as well.
My question to you is this:
Do you think that the kettles should be allowed at the BC Liquor Stores?
I love hearing from you!
Please email me at Renee.Merrifield.MLA@leg.bc.ca or call my office at 250-712-3620.