An estimated 1,500 people strolled through the entrance of the new Downtown Chilliwack Community Market on opening day, Sunday (June 6), according to organizers.
Opening ceremonies saw drumming by the Williams brothers from Skwah First Nation honouring the market initiative, as well as words of encouragement from Mayor Ken Popove, and Chilliwack MLA Dan Coulter.
Market vendors and visitors chatted safely, with social distancing in place, as folks trickled into the market area over the four hours. Outdoor stalls were showcasing fresh produce, hot sauces, pies, strawberries, soaps, candles, woodcrafts, veggie starters — and so much more.
“One of the most unique things about the Downtown Chilliwack Community Market is that we are a non-profit venture, and any funds that come in through selling market merchandise or in donations, above the cost of the market itself, goes back to our market cash program,” explained Margaret Reid, one of the market co-ordinators.
The market cash program will go directly to subsidizing community members who are “food insecure.”
They put out $500 in market cash this week and expect to put out thousands more throughout the course of the summer season.
Skwah First Nation, whose unceded territory the market is on, is a community partner, Reid stated.
“We are collaborating with them to make sure the market is beneficial to their community.”
The new downtown market is already a member of the BC Farmers’ Market Association.
“One of the things we were approved for this year was the Food Coupon program,” said Salina Derish, co-ordinator with the market.
Market partner Bowls of Hope will be distributing the food coupons that can be redeemed by families in need at the community market all summer long in trade for market offerings.
The market will run every Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot at 9360 Mill St. between Pick Eco Refills and The Book Man.
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