Feel like playing Santa?

The Westerly News has adopted a West Coast family whose daddy lost his job. Things are really tough for them, and staying warm and fed is top priority. We would like to help. If you would like to help us make things bright for two adorable kids, I have sizes and wish lists. Call me on my cell at 250-534-9213.

Believe it or not, there are families right in our backyard who are wrestling with economic monsters, layoffs and illness, who are worried about providing a semblance of a Merry Christmas for their children.

Just ask Judy Gray, who is working on a Christmas angel project with the nice folks at CIBC, who have a gift tree so people can pick a recipient and get them a present. Better still, ask how you can help. Or tell us what you’re cooking up., so we can let others know how to help. Christmas is not about the “stuff” -we know that. But it can be pretty bleak for families who are, for the moment, underresourced and stressed.

When I was in school in Alberta, my dad sent money for a bus ticket so my friend -far from her Pennsylvania home -could come to our house for Christmas. My mother bought her a present that she still cherishes the memory of decades later. And, come to think of it, we came to the West Coast and shared New Years with other youth in Tofino at the Sadlers before driving back to the prairies with Deane and Diane Johnson. Those were the days …

Kudos to friends and neighbours like Mark and Heidi Shaw, John Enns and the churches of Tofino, Food Bank on the Edge, the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi and the West Coast Catholic community, the Westcoast Community Resources Society -and all who help them -all planning to fill tummies and shine a light this season.

We’re looking forward to updates from these organizations …

+++ It’s Buy Local Week in BC. Perfect timing, with the fun of Jingle Into Christmas set for this weekend in Tofino.

According to Amy Robinson, founder of LOCO BC, local businesses create more than double the economic impact of their chain competitors. When you spend your dollars with local businesses, that money recirculates in your community 2.6 times, creating a bigger economic impact for your region, Robinson said. Think locally owned and operated business. Then think local made products with more than half ingredients or materials grown in BC, products wholly or largely manufactured or processed in BC.

Looking at the big picture, according to a LOCO BC press release, Canadian consumers spend about $1,500 on average on food, alcohol, gifts and travel during the holiday season. A 1% increase in BC consumer spending creates 3,100 jobs and $94 million in annual wages to BC workers.

Move in closer, to the regional level, and the ripples are widely felt and meaningful:

The success of local businesses, whether they are large, small or microbusinesses, means people can eat here and live here and stay here and afford housing here and be neighbours here. When you think shopping, think close to home as possible.

+++ Quick questions on the deer cull issue: If we cull the deer, will the predators look for pets for food? It’s cynical to muse the hope that cougars never look at the pets running around our growing West Coast communities and tell each other that they might need to be culled …

jcarmichael@westerlynews.ca