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Community call out to support Okanagan restaurant industry amid wildfire crisis

The BCRFA is helping support local restaurants and evacuated families in B.C.

Restaurants in Kelowna are facing an unprecedented challenge in the wake of the worst wildfire season in B.C.’s history.

The British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association (BCRFA) is calling upon the community to rally behind local establishments as they deal with low tourism levels caused by the devastating wildfires.

Some restaurants reported not having a single customer in recent days, and the severe financial strain has pushed some businesses to the brink of closure. The BCRFA is worried that some restaurants may have to shut down, leading to jobs lost and the fabric of the community being weakened.

In collaboration with the Canadian Mental Health Association Kelowna (CMHA), the BCRFA is taking immediate action to aid families who have evacuated. They are calling on the public to help revitalize the restaurant industry and assist those displaced by purchasing gift cards and dining at local establishments.

“Your support to local eateries not only helps keep their doors open but also ensures that we can extend help to those who have lost their homes due to the fire,” said Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of BCRFA. “Many of these restaurants also do not have online gift card ordering so we have set up a system where you can help by contributing through the BCRFA website.”

Tostenson goes on to say that his team will then go to the restaurants and purchase the gift cards before delivering them to the CMHA.

“This also allows us to support as many restaurants that we can, while giving the opportunity for people from around the world to support our local businesses and evacuated families.”

Evacuees can pick up gift cards provided by the community at Foundry Kelowna starting on Friday, Aug. 25.

For more information on how to contribute, visit BCRFA’s website.