Exposure helps partner charities
In its second year of activity, the Westbank Outdoor Market seems to be growing every week.
Put on by the Westbank Lions Club and the Historic Westbank Association, the market features a variety of vendors, live entertainment and a pancake breakfast.
“We’re very pleased with the results this year,” said Linda Hart, president of the Westbank Lions Club.
“We started with only seven vendors at the beginning of last year. We’re averaging 22 vendors now and we haven’t even gotten into the big fruit and garden produce part of the season.”
Each week, the market partners with a local charity or non-profit organization and donates a portion of the proceeds from the pancake breakfast to their cause.
“We approached all the charity groups that we could find on this side of the lake to see if they’d be willing to partner with us,” said Hart.
“It’s a little commitment on their part too: They have to send out a minimum of three volunteers to help us out.
“It does two things: It gets them out in front of the community in a different way, and it also gives them a chance to know more about who we are and what we do, instead of us just sending them a cheque.”
Already this summer the Westbank Lions Club has helped out the Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, a local thrift shop and, most recently, Gellatly Nut Farm.
Carl Zanon, past president of Gellatly Nut Farm, said that the outdoor market is a win-win situation for both local non-profit organizations and the Westbank Lions Club.
“We arrive at 6:30 a.m., set up the tents, put up equipment and help serve,” said Zanon.
Zanon said while the profits are helpful, the exposure and awareness is equally valuable.
According to its website, Gellatly Nut Farm is four hectares of a working heritage farm.
The park is a significant and unique site because of the heritage components as well as the recreational, archaeological and educational values.
“Last year and the year before we sold over 67,000 pounds of nuts. All that money goes 100 per cent back into the nut farm,” said Zanon.
“We restored the barn and put the playground in. These chunks of money, it pools right back into the organization. We have an excellent volunteer structure.”
The Westbank Outdoor Market runs every Saturday morning, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
On Saturday, Aug. 13, Westside Community Food Bank will be the local non-profit group in the spotlight.