In case you haven’t noticed, 2020 has been a bit of a bummer, between COVID-19 and all the consequences that dealing with and reacting to the pandemic have had for people who’ve lost their jobs, businesses that have lost much of their income as well as those of the disease itself, particularly for people it’s hospitalized and killed.
But while the old saying about every cloud having a silver lining may not necessarily be true, it is accurate in that even when things are dark, there will still be moments of light.
Thompson saw a couple of those moments in the past 10 days. The first came Nov. 30, when city council approved an agreement with Jumpstart Charities and Thompson Canadian Tire owner and operator Mike Howell to construct a $700,000 outdoor multi-sport facility along Thompson Drive. The bulk of the money is coming from Jumpstart, which is providing half-a-million dollars, while the city is chipping in $100,000. While at least one councillor questioned if that was a wise move by the city, given the tendency of large projects to end up costing more than initially planned, even he took pains to point out that his vote against the project was not meant to belittle the personal contribution of Howell, who is putting $100,000 of his own and his family’s money into the project.
You don’t need to have a lot of money to give back to your community, however, as evidenced by Geoff Greenfield’s one-man Christmas parade around the city on Friday and Saturday. There’s no way to measure the amount of joy he brought at a time when people need something to smile about. But he and Howell definitely prove, as Greenfield himself told the Thompson Citizen, “There’s still businesses out there that have a heart.”
Public health orders prohibiting people in Thompson and much of the rest of the province from buying non-essential items like electronics or toys in stores can seem like an imposition on consumers, but they are much more onerous for the business owners who have already had to invest in extra protective equipment or staff just to try to stay open throughout the pandemic. Everyone from people on social media to the provincial government itself has been extolling the virtues of supporting small businesses. And they’re right. Jeff Bezos isn’t going to drive around your city calling out, “Ho-ho-ho Merry Christmas!” or donate a gift for a silent auction at your next social (remember those?). So if you can, try to buy something locally this Christmas season. The money local businesses get from you for their goods and services will mean a lot more to them than it will to some big corporation that sees you as nothing more than numbers on a spreadsheet.