At Jouta, we always like to do what we can to give back at this time of year, and generally do so with local charities or by supporting our local communities in some way. This year – given the year that it’s been – we decided to do things a little differently.

As a small business that works, in part, with other small businesses, as well as many self-sustaining communities, and not for profits, we know first-hand how challenging this year has been on both businesses and their people. We’re also aware how easy, convenient, and safe (for consumers, at least) it is to shop online with large, multinational e-commerce sites. While we get that, we’re also aware of the negative impact doing so can have on our local businesses and, on the flipside, the positive effect we can have on our local economy by shopping local.

So this year, as a small, independent business ourselves, we wanted to support other small, independent businesses, and in doing so, support local charities and community organizations. Though our team was encouraged to take creative liberty, the general premise was as follows: Pick three independently owned businesses you’d miss if they closed, spend $50 at each, then donate the goods locally. Jouta gave each team member $150 to do so.

The Creative Liberty

A creative and diverse bunch, it was no surprise how uniquely this was tackled by the team. Some matched the amount and/or contributed additional funds. Some went only to one or two shops, while some shopped at up to eight. Some gave to only one organization; some gave to several. Some supported our furry friends, as well as people of all ages. Some focused on one overall category of product (e.g. food), some shopped with our clients in mind (e.g. supporting Indigenous artists), and some made gift bags/baskets with products from a number of different businesses and grocers. As it was difficult, in a few cases, to find organizations accepting gifts in kind, given current circumstances, many reached out in advance to find out what was needed most.

Local Businesses, Charities and Community Organizations Supported

Throughout Burnaby, Langley, Penticton, Port Coquitlam, Squamish, and Vancouver, we supported 22 independent/local businesses. These included: Independent/Local Grocers (8); Toy/Specialty (6); Arts, Crafts, and Gifts (6); and Pet Products (2).

Collectively, our team spent and, in turn, donated nearly $2,000 worth of gifts/donations to 13 community organizations. Of these, were: Women’s Centres/Transition Homes (4); Food Banks/Community Kitchens (3); Community/Friendship Centres (2); Family Care Organizations (2); and Animal Shelters (2).

While the donations – be they ‘in kind’ or monetary – were the ultimate result, the intent was so much more than that. Despite an extraordinarily challenging year, we know we’re very fortunate and have so much to be grateful for. For all of us, we felt the intent was the entire process, start to finish – choosing, engaging with our community, supporting, and giving. We were all very touched by taking part, it felt good, fostered creativity, and for some, it was even serendipitous, given many of our clientele. As quoted by a few of our team members:

  • “It made me beam from the inside out!”
  • “It was the best Christmas present I could ask for.”
  • “I enjoyed researching and discovering new local business retailers.”
  • “There’s so many new places I look forward to visiting!”

Not everyone is in a position to give financially, in kind, or even in time or service, and so we are honoured to share our journey with you.

We also want to take this time to tell you how very grateful we are for each and every one of you. Without you, we wouldn’t be in the position we are. From our team to yours… from our homes to yours… from our hearts to yours…

Thank you – sincerely. 

We wish for you joy, peace and gratitude this holiday season.