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Rally for struggling restaurants in wake of wildfires

Save our restaurants and feed evacuees.

That's the plea from the BC Restaurant & Foodservices Association (BCRFA) as eateries in the Central Okanagan spiral in the wake of wildfires.

"The situation has become so dire that some restaurants report not having a single customer yesterday," said BCRFA CEO Ian Tostenson.

"Restaurants, an integral part of our culture, have borne the brunt of reduced dining activity due to the decline in tourism and residents being evacuated and heading out of town."

</who>Ian Tostenson is the CEO of the BC Restaurant & Foodservices Association.

There are three things you can do do help out restaurants during this crisis.

1. Go out and eat at a local restaurant.

2. Purchase a gift card from a local restaurant online and then email it to

The association will print it off and give it to the Kelowna branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) for distribution to someone in need who has been evacuated from their home.

3. Make a donation to the association at so it can purchase gift cards for distribution by the CMHA.

Evacuees can drop by the CMHA's Foundry Kelowna wellness centre location at 1815 Kirschner Rd. starting Friday, from 9 am to 4 pm, to pick up a restaurant gift card.

</who>Go out and eat or buy a gift card for evacuees to support local restaurants, urges the BC Restaurant & Foodservices Association.

The restaurant association decided to partner with the mental health association because it was a way to immediately take action to aid evacuated families and bolster the restaurant sector.

"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 wildfire," said Tostenson.

The restaurant association's missive goes on to say eateries play a vital role in both the local economy and the lives of thousands of residents.

"This downturn has led to severe financial strain, pushing some businesses to the brink of closure," said Tostenson.

"With each closure, not only are jobs lost, but the very fabric of our community is weakened. It's a symbiotic relationship. Your support to local eateries not only helps keep doors open, but also ensures that we can extend help to those who have lost their homes due to the fire."

The restaurant association summed up with: Let's come together as a community, support our local businesses and extend a helping hand to our fellow residents in need.

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