A Salmon Arm business is once again using a symbol of Christmas to “pay it forward” this holiday season.
Decorated Christmas trees sponsored by local businesses have reappeared in Salmon Arm’s downtown. One of them, in front of Barb Belway’s Inclusive Arts Pottery & Crafts Studio on Hudson Avenue, is a tree with a twist. Belway’s “pay-it-forward” Christmas tree is decorated with a variety of packages containing items that might come in need during the winter months. People are welcome to take one and/or leave something behind for others.
Belway says the pay-it-forward approach proved successful last year and she was encouraged to do it again.
The trees were set up in early December by the Downtown Salmon Arm Association. In addition to promotional materials, some of the trees were decorated with little gifts, such as the tree with dental care packages from the Montebello Dental Clinic. Belway chose to decorate her tree with food, tea, small clothing items and hygiene products.
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“This year and last it’s been so respected. Things have just gradually gone as they were needed,” Belway said while hanging another plastic bag containing tea bags on the tree’s branches.
Not only were things taken at a reasonable rate, Belway continued, items have been added anonymously including handmade scarves and mittens and even a Tim Hortons gift card.
When asked why she started the pay-it-forward tree, Belway responded, “It’s Christmas.”
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“You could go out and spend 100 bucks on decorations or you could put $100 worth of something that someone actually needs on it,” she said.
Belway noted items taken first from the tree seemed to always be things like toothbrushes and other hygiene products.