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Downtown Bend businesses ask for your change

By Kim Tobin
Published On: Nov 30 2012 09:32:31 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 01 2012 12:17:37 AM CST

NewsChannel 21's Kim Tobin looks at a program among downtown merchants to raise funds for non-profits -- and how downtown isn't letting a Grinch who stole Christmas lights dim their holidays.

BEND, Ore. -

As many people have seen on the downtown Bend Christmas tree, several silver plates are hanging on the branches, representing coins, or change. It's the theme downtown, as many businesses are taking part in the Christmas of Change program.

A total of 25 downtown businesses have placed special change jars next to their cash registers, asking people to donate what they can to help out Central Oregon families. Also, each store taking part has an illuminated coin in their window.

"We're just happy to be a part of something that supports local charities, and it's something that we all feel passionate about," said Larie Borden, the owner of Clutch, located inside the store Tres Jolie. "I think being downtown, we feel like we're a big part of the Bend community, and we want to give back."

The Downtown Bend Business Association is working with a non-profit called The Tree of Humanity in the effort. Learn more at this Website.

"What Christmas of Change means is that a little change out of of someone's pocket, into a jar, can make a big change in a needy family in Central Oregon," said Chuck Arnold, director of the Downtown Bend Business Association.

The goal is to collect coins and raise cash for local non-profits like the Boys and Girls Club and Bethlehem Inn.

"It could be five cents, it could be a dollar -- it could be whatever they feel like they want to give," Borden said. "It doesn't have to be a big thing. It's a small thing that can go to something big."

It's not just inside the windows. The Christmas tree in downtown reaches high into the sky, covered in the silver, glittery coins. It's there to remind people that it's the season of giving.

"It feels good for the businesses to be able to give back to the community, and let them know we appreciate all of the community that helps support us," Arnold said.

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