Melanie Rideout, co-ordinator of Best Kinda’ Market, a Gander vendors’ group, has been spearheading an effort to promote buying locally and boost support for small- and home-based businesses.
The idea is to keep paycheques in the community and support those who need it, said Rideout.
“We trying to support growth in local small businesses such as home-based moms,” she said. “It can be expensive to put kids in daycare, so some moms operate home-based businesses as a form of income while raising their children.
“The way I see it, by going to big corporate stores and buying all of our Christmas gifts, we’re buying a CEO another vacation home,” said Rideout. “But if you buy a hand-knitted scarf, you could be buying a little girl’s lunches for the week. The more local we shop, the more it drives our economy here in Gander.”
The group is also focusing its efforts on filling local food banks with donations, a need that’s always present, said Rideout.
Recently the group held a vendors market and collected more than $600 worth of groceries for the local food bank.
According to Rideout, that’s all part of a community support network.
“From what’s left of the revenue from the tables, we also put into a grocery fund to go and get the high-ticket items such as peanut butter, Cheez Whiz and things like that for the food bank,” she said.
Rideout said local church groups have told her each month about 200 families use the food bank in Gander. Those numbers underscore the importance of people giving what they can to support the food bank, she said.
“The need to donate gets neglected too sometimes because there’s a stereotype that people think just because you have a car you don’t need to use the food bank,” said Rideout. “How do we know that the person at that time in their life do not need to use the food bank? There are a lot of families with children who go to the food bank and no child should ever go to school hungry. And no child should go to bed hungry.”
Rideout said it’s important for people in a community to support its less fortunate residents and whoever else might need help.
“It takes all of us hand-in-hand helping each other to make everybody’s life comfortable and livable and sometimes people need more help than others,” she said.