Bob Zimmer: Supporting our local businesses and charities through this Christmas season

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As the days start getting colder and we start seeing the first signs of winter, it’s hard not to think about the Christmas season.

I know this year has been a challenging one for many of you and I know that our local businesses and charities have been particularly hard hit throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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I believe the best way that we can celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season is to support our local business owners and charities at every opportunity. For all those who are able, please consider ordering takeout from your favourite restaurant, support local convenience stores, and shop local for the upcoming holidays.

Local charities, community groups, and religious organizations have also played a significant role in helping Canadians get through this crisis. And while the need for their services has increased, the donations that they rely on have declined dramatically as in-person fundraisers and events have been cancelled or gone virtual, and many Canadians who normally contribute are no longer in a position to give.

If you can, please consider looking into some of the charity work that your friends and neighbours are involved in to see how you can help.

For example, local resident Crystal Holden is once again packing gift-filled shoeboxes to send to children in need as the Fort St. John Volunteer Regional Coordinator for Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child. Crystal has been filling shoe boxes with fun, simple, usable items since 1993 and believes it is a wonderful way to give back. National Collection Week is November 16 to 22 and I am happy to support Crystal and the work of Operation Christmas Child.

There are many other worthy charities that need our help this year, and for those who can, I hope you will take some time to donate or volunteer to ensure these organizations remain in our communities for years to come.

We here in northeast B.C. have always looked out for one another and taken care of each other through difficult times, and I know this Christmas season will be no different.

Bob Zimmer is Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies.

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