As we enter 2021 most were happy to say goodbye to 2020, as evidenced by trending New Year's Eve themes like "Good Riddance 2020" that became popular as the year wound down. I think it's safe to say that 2020 was a challenging year for the majority of us, in a myriad of ways.
Another trend that started to emerge during the pandemic was online shopping began to surge to new heights as consumers looked for contactless purchasing options, along with avenues to avoid crowded shopping environments. As restrictions increased in most locales, in attempts to avoid the spread of Covid, many smaller retailers were facing a potentially daunting holiday shopping season which is often so critical to their financial stability. So, it was comforting to see other themes emerge like "support local" with a view to support smaller and independent retailers that are often a notable part of the fabric of the communities we live in.
For Ziptrek's tiny part, we decided to make our annual holiday gifts* ( Thank-you gifts to our partners and resellers), be made up of locally sourced Whistler items. Some of the companies have been fortunate enough to stay open during the pandemic, but for the annual Bratz Biz event, which showcases young artisans and entrepreneurs and provides an avenue for them to sell their crafts and wares each year (and usually takes place inside the Whistler Conference Centre) - it had to move completely online. For those that still want to support the event and the young entrepreneurs involved, they can visit the vendor page here. (Our gift bags included: Jovan's Natural Soap, Lucky Star Candles, and Sofia's Ornaments).
Another part of our annual gift program is the financial donation component. As long-time supporters of Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS), we knew this was going to be an especially challenging year for them, given all the implications of the pandemic, and its associated impacts. As the Executive Director of WCSS, Jackie Dickinson, shared with us on December 17th -
"Our Food Bank program is a service which has been in a great deal of demand throughout the pandemic. Our greatest numbers were in the Spring with over 400-500 people accessing it a week (that is 5 times more than we normally see this time of year) and moved to the Whistler Conference Centre in an effort to support the need. The food bank numbers went down in use throughout the summer and early Fall. We saw a slow increase the first week of November and have just seen a large surge in use this past week. We are always grateful for any support.
Our Holiday Hamper Program, is currently at this time supporting over 55 families and enroute to accepting more applications for hampers for families in need. We have seen a surge in requests this past week as well, as individuals are identifying they are needing more support as we get closer to Christmas.
As well, we have seen a huge demand in accessing emotional support with our Outreach Services Team."
Please consider supporting this fine organization in anyway you can, if you can, especially during these times. Visit their website where an easy online donation process exists.
The other organization we chose to support is one that we have been involved with since 2012 - The Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program, which is connected to Ocean Wise and the Vancouver Aquarium. The program raises funds to support conservation-oriented research on wild killer whales by the Marine Mammal Research Program. Learn more about the organization and all they do - here. Another great operation that you could consider supporting.
With an official wrap to 2020 now in the books, let's all hope for a smoother, safe and healthy 2021!
The Ziptrek Team
* The other wonderful local establishments involved in our gift bags were: Coast Mountain Brewing, Cranked Espresso Bar, and Ingrid's Café, as seen in photos.