Push to save local eateries
Sponsored Content - Apr 22, 2021 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed
Vantage West Realty’s Fil Strycharek, left, and AJ Hazzi.

AJ Hazzi has already raised more than $20,000 for Kelowna restaurants that have been hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions.

Now the Vantage West Realty founder is throwing down the gauntlet to make that total grow substantially. He is looking for industries that have fared better financially because of the pandemic to help out those that are getting slammed as well as new ventures that do not qualify for certain financial aid.

Image: Contributed

“I would like to make it a challenge or a call to arms to any industry or business that’s found themselves doing better because of COVID while some industries are getting decimated,” Hazzi says. “It would behoove them to step up and give generously.

“A great example of this is Elite Auto Services. They cut a cheque for $5,000, because nobody eats out more than people in the car business … well, maybe Realtors.”

The fundraiser will direct funds in the form of gift-card purchases and straight cash injections to deserving businesses nominated by the community. The purchased gift cards will then be given away to people who like and share the fundraiser post on Facebook in an effort to drum up more visibility for the campaign.

“We’ve only just begun giving away gift cards,” Hazzi says. “We’ve got over $20,000 worth of gift cards to start giving away over the next two weeks, and I want to drive people to the Facebook page, to go there and to like and to share it in order to be eligible for the giveaways.”

Hazzi was inspired when he saw fellow Realtor Darryl Reuter buying gift cards and giving them away on Facebook. He started the fundraiser before provincial health minister Dr. Bonnie Henry extended the ban on indoor dining until May 25.

In other words, it’s never been more important to help out those businesses that are suffering. If you haven’t had a chance to donate before and are able, this is the perfect time to do it.

“My challenge is to all the real estate companies and car dealers and boat dealers and RV dealers and anybody who has found themselves on the receiving end of pandemic financial prosperity to give generously,” Hazzi says.

The Vantage West Realty boss is also asking the public to let him know, through the Facebook page, about any unknown businesses that need help. Those making donations can also contact Hazzi at [email protected] if they wish to make a direct payment and avoid Facebook’s fundraising fee.

Says Hazzi: “We want to help save as many small businesses as we can.”

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.

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