This week is National Volunteer Week, and as you will find on page 8 and 9 of this issue the community of Barriere, and its surrounding area, is well blessed with numerous service organizations and clubs – all run by volunteers. In fact we currently have a list of 54 volunteer organizations that are the lifeblood of our communities.
There is another lifeblood within our communities, or perhaps we should say arterial blood. Arterial blood because this group is at the heart of our commerce, our growth, and our sustainability.
They are the ones who consistently support local initiatives; everything from bake sales to dry grad celebrations. These are the folks that many of our volunteer organizations turn to when hosting a fundraiser or community event. They’re the ones who provide such organizations with donations and giveaway items, door prizes and gift certificates, food and beverage items, and so much more.
Yes, we’re talking about our local merchants and businesses. In fact we consider them a noble group when it comes to community spirit and buy-in. We know this because the pages of our newspaper have been filled for decades with photographs of local business people handing over cheques, flipping burgers at fund raisers, and coaching our kid’s sports teams. They pitch in to help pick up the pieces when disaster strikes our communities, they play with us, laugh with us, share in our troubles, and embrace our dreams.
Take the North Thompson Agriplex; since the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association announced in March of 2011 their dream to create a lasting legacy for the area, the community support for the Agriplex has been phenomenal. After just six months, phase one of the building was completed and no monies were owed. A large continuing contributor to this project has been the business community – to date 61 businesses have made in-kind donations that totaled just under $150,000, with another 27 businesses donating over $100,000 in cash.
So why do we shop in Kamloops or other areas? For many it is due to necessity, when something is needed that cannot be obtained in a small rural community the purchaser must look elsewhere.
However, the next time you drive to Kamloops to purchase an item that you could have purchased locally, we ask that you take a moment to reflect on the following:
Who gave $500 to your kids sport’s team? Who donated the food for your pot luck? Who supported your fundraiser throughout their store? Who donates regularly to local charities and the Food Bank? Who provides local employment? Who gives consistently to numerous causes and projects that make your community a better place to live for yourself and your loved ones?
Then ask yourself – “How do I survive without arterial blood?”
You can’t – and neither can your community.