July’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Heather Dewar, Rachel Boere, and Mary Paquet, to support weekly giveaways of products from local businesses in recognition of everyday people.
“We are three community builders, storytellers, and locally minded women who, in looking for meaning and a way to give back, developed Community Supported Gratitude,” explains Heather. “A couple of Zoom-storming sessions yielded this initiative – which is by community, for community.”
“Every week,” she continues, “we purchase gifts worth about $100 from local businesses. Then, community members do the nominating. Folks are invited to nominate someone who is working hard right now, someone they're grateful for, or someone who could just use a pick-me-up. Our team reviews these nominations and delivers the gift package to someone new each Friday, sharing the story about the recipient on social media. The goal is simple – to connect our community on a personal level and to support local businesses.”
“We recognize that the current situation is both difficult for people personally and economically challenging for local businesses,” Heather explains. “Our aim is to brighten the day of the recipients and support local businesses through direct purchases and the associated promotion. And soliciting nominations from the community gives people a chance to recognize and celebrate each other.”
Community Supported Gratitude, which is operating in partnership with Together Apart, has so far given out 11 gift packages. These have included items from 36 local businesses. Recipients have ranged from a nurse at the Safe Injection Site at the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, to the team at the Elgin St. Dollarama, to a neighbour who has been supporting her local community with freshly baked treats and more.
Heather, Rachel, and Mary are three friends who met while working at a local non-profit. One is still working there, and the other two are now freelancers and consultants.
Funded by Ottawa, ON (July 2020)