Decision to ban Sally Ann kettles outside liquor stores wrong

Bring back the kettles

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 and the decorations are all things that bring us together. I enjoyed attending the Tiny Tim Toy Drive and the Kettle Valley Santa Claus Parade.

Seeing 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’s annual kettle campaign fundraising 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 or whatever they can afford.

Last week was disappointing for the Salvation Army and its fundraising efforts, as they were forbidden to have their kettles outside B.C. Liquor Stores. That edict was from the top brass at the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch, which operates B.C. Liquor Stores.

In its issued statement, branch stated that its policy to stop having kettles at their locations was a “business decision”.

That “business decision” will have a dramatic negative impact on the fundraising efforts of the Salvation Army, as more than 10% of its donations in the Interior come from these locations.

In my view, the BCLDB decision was nonsensical.

I hope by the time you read this, it will have been reversed.

The premier or the minister in charge could change this and ensure those donation (opportunities) to the Salvation Army kettle drive remain. That is the role of elected officials, to speak up when department regulation or policy cause harm or hardships unnecessarily to British Columbians, or when agencies make mistakes.

This was the wrong decision, made at the wrong time.

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 many excellent ways to help others—volunteering with Kelowna’s Santas and helping wrap and deliver presents, ringing the bells at the kettles, giving food or a financial donation to area food banks. Tthere 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 Salvation Army collection kettles should be allowed at the B.C. Liquor Stores?

I love hearing from you. Please email me at [email protected] or call my office at 250-712-3620.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Renee Merrifield is the BC Liberal MLA for Kelowna - Mission and the Opposition critic for the Environment and Climate Change, as well as Gender, Equity and Inclusion.  She currently serves on the Select Standing Committee for Finance as well.

A long-time resident of Kelowna, Renee started, and continues to lead, many businesses from construction and development to technology. Renee is a compassionate individual who cares about others in the community, believes in giving back and helping those in need through service.

She values your feedback and conversation, and can be reached at [email protected] or 250.712.3620

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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