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Coquitlam Farmers Market organizers hope fundraising drive will help them replace stolen van and equipment

Market organizers have launched a fundraiser to generate $20,000 in donations to replace a van and equipment that was stolen outside a home in Port Coquitlam last month
0712 Coquitlam Farmers Market fundraising plea
Coquitlam Farmers Market manager Tabitha McLaughlin and board chair Denise Nembhard plead for donations to replace a van that was stolen.

The theft of a van crucial to the operation of the Coquitlam Farmers Market has left organizers devastated and looking for donations to purchase a replacement.

Market manager Tabitha McLaughlin said she was shocked to find the van missing last month and heartbroken when Coquitlam RCMP revealed it had turned up in Langley — stripped of parts and equipment.

“They contacted us when they found it again. We couldn’t do anything with it. It was really was hard to see it like that, all stripped apart.”

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.”

Now the Grow Local Society is fundraising for $20,000 so it can replace the van and contents.

Since Sunday (July 11), more than $2,000 — or about 10% of the goal — has been raised, with many small donations from the community, including Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA and Finance Minister Selina Robinson, who contributed and urged others to do the same.

To keep the market going the society is using a van and materials loaned by the Haney Farmers Market (Fraser North Farmers Market Society), which operates the Port Coquitlam market on Thursdays.

McLaughlin said she first learned of the theft when she heard from a woman in Pitt Meadows that some of the contents was dumped at the dike.

When she checked outside her Port Coquitlam home she found the van gone and by the time it was found in Langley, the wheels and the catalytic converter were removed, and the interior was damaged.

“They took it and destroyed it. It’s so hard on our organization now to fundraise to get our vehicle back again and get the equipment back,” said McLaughlin, noting that the market is just getting back on its feet as the COVID-19 pandemic has waned and restrictions have been loosened.

While there are no longer any line-ups to get in, masks are recommended but not required and dogs are permitted to enter with their owner.

• The Coquitlam Farmers Market runs on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m at 575 Poirier St., Coquitlam (behind the Poirier library branch) from May to October 

• The Port Moody market runs on Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m. from June to September at the Port Moody Recreation Complex (300 Ioco Rd.).


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