In June, the Coquitlam Farmers Market's van was stolen and when it was eventually found in Langley, it was stripped for parts and equipment.
The organization decided to launch a $20,000 online fundraising campaign on July 11 in hopes the public could exemplify its generosity and help replace the vehicle needed for day-to-day tasks across the Tri-Cities.
Now, thanks to a significant donation of $12,000 this past weekend, the Farmers Market is one step closer to replacing the van.
Hanin Investment Group, a commercial real estate group based in Coquitlam for the last 20 years, presented a cheque to the non-profit's On A Roll: Market Van Fundraiser, which is now less than $2,300 away from reaching its goal.
The money was given in person on Sunday (July 25) by Hanin representatives Kyu Kim and Michele Chow.
“We are incredibly grateful to Mr. Kim and Ms. Chow for this generous donation to our fundraising campaign," says Grow Local Society Executive Director Tabitha McLoughlin in a statement.
"The loss of our market van and its contents has been very problematic and stressful, and this donation helps us get closer to our goal to enable us to purchase a new van."
McLaughlin said the 2006 Ford van — purchased with fundraising dollars in 2015 — was used to carry equipment such as tables, flags, bins and other equipment to the markets in Coquitlam and Port Moody each week.
“It was nothing fancy, but it did what we needed to run the market and the programming," she said, while adding the remainder of the funds needed for the new vehicle are being sought through sponsorships.
McLoughlin explained she first learned of the theft when she heard from a Pitt Meadows woman that some of the contents was dumped at the dike.
She then checked outside her Port Coquitlam home, found that the van was gone and by the time it was found in Langley, the wheels and the catalytic converter were removed, and the interior was damaged.
The van was also stolen at a time when Grow Local Society was getting back on its feet as restrictions pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic were loosened across B.C.
"We have strong ties to this awesome community that my family has grown to love in these past five years since moving here," said Chow with Hanin Investment.
"We are happy to be included in the efforts to ensure the Farmers Market continues to flourish."
If you wish to contribute to the campaign, you're encouraged to visit the Coquitlam Farmers Market's website.
FARMERS MARKET SCHEDULES
Coquitlam Farmers Market
- Sundays from May to October
- 9 a.m. to 1 p.m at 575 Poirier St. (behind the Poirier library branch)
Port Moody Farmers Market
- Wednesdays from June to September
- 3 to 7 p.m. at the Port Moody Recreation Complex (300 Ioco Rd.)