It’s December, and Christmas is around the corner. I want to highlight some important points about this time of year and the joy it brings to you, to your community, and the importance of generosity.
Let’s be frank; there have been too many negative events which have impacted our lives. The war in Ukraine, rampant political divisions, a seemingly never-ending affordability crisis, and a potential recession right around the corner have all regularly made headlines in the past months. There is no question people are struggling financially. That said, I believe there are ample positives that can come out of this Christmas season. Part of this is the many ways we can help our fellow Canadians.
Food bank usage is at an all-time high. Food Banks Canada recorded 1.5 million visits to food banks in just one month, which is a 35 per cent increase compared to last year. This is a similar message I hear about our local food banks as well. To keep up with demand, food banks need your generosity as they work their hearts out to meet demand. Volunteering your time and energy to help will have a positive ripple effect throughout the area you live. It’s a clear indicator to those in a disadvantaged place that you care.
Donating food, gift cards, and money is also critical for the survival of local food banks. These items go to people in need and can be the difference between a merry Christmas and a day without food. Canada’s food banks and the folks who rely on them are greatly appreciative of any contribution.
Another great way of helping your community is to shop local. One of the great privileges I have of being your Member of Parliament is experiencing many of the great services and products offered by the merchants in Battle River—Crowfoot. So please, see what is in your backyard and see for yourself what they have to offer.
As you shop for presents for your loved ones this Christmas season, check out your local boutiques, artisans, and other specialty stores. Not only will you benefit from great products and top-notch service, but you will be supporting your friends and neighbours. Many of these merchants have been struggling with the lasting economic effects of COVID-19 and with the dire inflation crisis. Your participation in our local economy is greatly welcomed. I assure you; you will be glad you did!
With adversity comes perseverance, and Canadians will do as we have always done and extend a helping hand to those less fortunate as we come together as a nation. In East Central Alberta, we are blessed with numerous tight-knit communities with residents who truly care about one another. I am proud to be the Member of Parliament for Battle River—Crowfoot, and to be able to represent the area where I grew up and where I am raising my children with my wife, Danielle.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this column, you are encouraged to write Damien at 4945-50th Street, Camrose, Alberta, T4V 1P9, call 780-608-4600, text 403-575-5625, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.