A Manitoba grocery store that specializes in local food is launching a program this summer hoping to help support new Canadians and combat hate by providing fresh, free food.
Starting this summer, Crampton's Market will donate a 15-week food box subscription to a newcomer family for every 12 subscriptions sold. Participants can also purchase a subscription to donate, which the market will match.
In a write-up on the business's site, it urges Manitobans to "buy a food box, spread the love."
Erin Crampton, co-owner of Crampton's Market, said the business has a handful of charities it donates to every year, but this is the first time they've targeted one issue so specifically.
It was a "completely emotionally based decision," brought on by a slew of recent events, she said.
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"With the U.S. border closing to many people who had called the U.S.A. home, the horrible act of violence in Quebec and the hateful comments that seemed to be everywhere in social media, I just kind of snapped," Crampton wrote in an email to CBC while travelling overseas.
"I thought, 'This is not my world. This is not the world that I am living in.' I always say that the best thing about owning your own business is that you get to create the world you live in."
The food boxes are delivered weekly and include a selection of locally grown produce. Customers can choose between a full or half portion, and can add local protein or gourmet options for an extra fee.
Crampton said she hopes the food delivery will help "take a little bit of the pressure off" for families who may have faced trauma or are tackling challenges associated with immigration.
So far, she said the customer response has been "overwhelming."
"Many people were feeling 'This is not my world. What can I do to get my world back?'" she wrote. "This call to action, [to] spread love not hate, [and] buy a family a food box has really hit home for many."
Crampton said her goal is to help 15 to 20 families, and she hopes to get customers involved, suggesting favourite family recipes to go along with the boxes. If all goes well, she envisions taking the program a step further with a potluck for customers and newcomer families.
If her program doesn't appeal to everyone, that's fine, Crampton said — but she hopes it inspires more acts of kindness anyway.
"Saving elephants in Africa, cleaning plastic from the oceans, providing a meal and a visit to an elderly neighbour or helping out at Agape Table or Siloam Mission, just spread the love," she wrote. "Not the hate."