In the wake of the devastating fire season in British Columbia and the subsequent low tourism levels in the region, local restaurants are facing an unprecedented challenge. The British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association (BCRFA) calls upon the community to rally behind these establishments, as they play a vital role in both the local economy and the lives of thousands of residents.

Restaurants, an integral part of our culture, have borne the brunt of reduced dining traffic due to the decline in tourism and residents being evacuated. The situation has become so dire that some restaurants report not having a single customer yesterday. This downturn has led to severe financial strain, pushing some businesses to the brink of closure. With each closure, not only are jobs lost, but the very fabric of our community is weakened.

The BCRFA, in collaboration with the Canadian Mental Health Association Kelowna (CMHA), is taking immediate action to aid evacuated families affected by the devastation. By purchasing gift cards from local restaurants or dining at these establishments, you contribute to two noble causes – revitalizing the restaurant industry and assisting those displaced by the wildfire.

“It’s a symbiotic relationship,” says Ian Tostenson, president/ceo for BCRFA. “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. 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, our team will then go to restaurants and purchase the gift cards from them before delivering to 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.”

There are three ways you can support this initiative:
1. Go out and dine at our local restaurants
2. Purchase a gift card online for a restaurant and email to, we will then print off and give to CMHA to distribute
3. Make a cash contribution to the BCRFA, we will then turn around and purchase gift cards from these restaurants

Evacuees can stop by Foundry Kelowna starting Friday, August 25 from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM to pick up the gift cards provided by our generous community.

By dining at local restaurants, you are not only enjoying a delicious meal but also making a meaningful impact. Gift cards can be purchased directly from participating restaurants or make a cash donation through the BCRFA website and we will purchase the gift cards directly to get to CMHA to distribute directly to evacuated families.

Let’s come together as a community, support our local businesses, and extend a helping hand to our fellow residents in need. Visit BCRFA’s website for more information on how you can contribute.



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