By Lissa Alexander
Although Parksville Qualicum Beach businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, many are still doing what they can to ensure residents experience some joy this Christmas.
“We fully understand what people are going through and we just want to help,” said David Darmadi, owner of Kalvas – The Log House restaurant (180 Moilliet St.).
Darmadi had to close the restaurant in the spring when the country was in lockdown. The restaurant transitioned to take-out only and eventually reopened.
The latest provincial restrictions allow eating in restaurants with those within your household or core bubble. However, on Nov. 19 when the new restrictions were announced, Darmadi saw cancellations.
“I lost more than half of my reservations,” he revealed. “But we’re going to keep going and continue helping out.”
Darmadi has introduced Meals for More, an initiative benefitting the SOS Caring for Community at Christmas program, where patrons can bring in a new, unwrapped gift for a local child or youth, or a financial donation, and receive a free dessert. These house-made desserts include apple pie crumble, Grand Marnier crème caramel, chocolate hazelnut crème brûlée, and tiramisu.
He is also hosting an SOS Angel Tree. Patrons can select an ornament from the tree and purchase the gift listed on the back. These are gifts that SOS is short on in the Toy Shop. Darmadi is also selling SOS 2021 commemorative calendars entitled Our Resilient Community – A celebration of strength, courage and generosity of spirit. All proceeds from the sale of the calendars support SOS programs and services, plus every calendar has a number on it that will be entered in a draw to win a deluxe stay for two at Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort and Conference Centre.
Darmadi said he appreciates the programs and services SOS provides to residents in the community. When he first came to the region and was a single income earner with a family of six, he and his family accessed SOS.
“SOS was very helpful for us,” he explained.
Darmadi said patrons at Kalvas are very nice and appreciate the opportunity to support residents in need.
“A lot of our guests are very generous and they want to help out, and this way they have dinner and help out at the same time and do not have to make an extra trip.”
The SOS Caring for Community at Christmas program provides special gifts for local children and youth and grocery store gift cards for families and individuals, so they can choose food that is important to them over the holidays.
SOS anticipates higher needs in the program this year, and SOS executive director Susanna Newton hopes there will be enough gifts to fill the toy shop and enough funds to meet the needs of local families and individuals who register this year.
“We are little bit behind where we were last year at this time, but we understand the pandemic has made it very difficult for people to donate. We are optimistic that we will be able to help residents in need as we have in past years.”
There are 19 local businesses who have signed up to host SOS Angel Trees this year. Find a list of participating businesses on the SOS website: www.sosd69.com. If businesses are interested in participating in the Angel Tree program, they can call SOS at 250-248-2093 to sign up. SOS is also accepting donations online, by phone or in person.