Many local businesses like to help out the community and several are longtime supporters of the Nanaimo News Bulletin’s Pennies for Presents campaign.
Participating businesses are easy to spot – just look for the containers at cash registers sporting the campaign logo of a stocking stuffed full of toys.
The campaign collects change for distribution to three local charities that support Nanaimo children – the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive, the Salvation Army and the Nanaimo Boys and Girls Club.
The idea is to leave no child empty-handed at Christmas time; a cause near and dear to the hearts of many business owners.
Craig Palin, owner of InPrint on Terminal Avenue, has been supporting the campaign for so long, he can’t remember when he started.
“We keep our little bucket on the counter all year long,” he said. “It’s along the lines of just realizing it’s tough out there for families. The innocent people of the world are the kids. They’re the ones who deserve a little extra, a little happiness at this time of year.”
The campaign is easy to participate in, Palin added: the pennies jar doesn’t take up a lot of space in the office and with such a small monetary denomination required, everyone feels like they can help out a bit. He remembers one man helping out more than a bit last year when he dropped a $500 cheque in the pennies bucket.
John Rogers, owner of John’s Bedroom Barn, has participated in the campaign for about as long as it has been running – 16 years.
“I love Christmas and I love kids,” he said. “We want to help out the best way we can. People have been coming in for years and dropping off their pennies.”
The store also sells foam scraps throughout the year for a donation to the campaign, the Salvation Army or Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank.
Another longtime supporter is Coast Realty Group’s downtown office on Church Street.
Realtors make their income from selling houses in the community and a chance to give back is rewarding, said office manager Ron Williams.
“We really like the fact that it is people down the road, people in our neighbourhood that the campaign benefits,” he said.
The office doesn’t have a cash register, so when people donate, they are often bringing in a jar of pennies because they know Coast Realty is a drop-off site for the campaign, Williams added.
People can drop off their pennies until Dec. 21 at the News Bulletin office at 777 Poplar St., the three businesses listed above, or the campaign’s other supporters: Northridge Fitness, Canadian Tire, Sink or Swim Scuba, La-Z-Boy, Royal LePage at Brooks Landing, the ICBC Driver Licensing Office on Metral Drive, Quality Foods in University Village and Cline Medical Centre.
For more information, please call 250-734-4626.