Life Happens When You Are Busy Making Plans
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”- William Arthur Ward
It’s hard to believe Southridge Jam has been around for five years already. Last year around this time, we had already started to think and talk about our 2020 goals and all the things we wanted to accomplish during our fifth year. We had plans to buy more equipment for our kitchen, increase our jam production, recruit more volunteers and we were even talking about a new limited edition jam flavour.
We were excited.
We were energized.
We had big plans for 2020.
And like every social enterprise, small business and non-profit (likely across the globe), our worlds came to a stutter in March 2020, with shock, uncertainty, confusion and disappointment. The world has experienced so much this year, leading us all to change and adapt as well. A year ago, none of this was even on the horizon.
But, Niagara proud we have moved forward.
At the Southridge Jam social enterprise, we were worried about our business but more worried about our team and the Southridge Shelter, with whom we are affiliated. As an essential service, the Southridge Shelter, Niagara’s largest emergency hostel, was reconfigured to enhance safety and schedules reworked to operate without the volunteers who are so integral to day to day operations.
Six months later, we are very happy to report that everyone on our team and at the shelter has remained healthy and safe this year.
And those big plans we were talking about at Southridge Jam last fall?
The big expansion plans became survival plans as our kitchen was shut down for months, Southridge church services moved online and the local craft shows and seasonal markets we would normally have attended were all cancelled. Approximately 60% of our jam sales depend on seeing you in person. Every year we looked forward to meeting new people, seeing some familiar faces, telling our story, giving out jam samples and answering questions at three or four events and regular Sunday sales at the Southridge church.
When we restarted our weekly jam production in July, it was with a much smaller crew, most often family members or individuals living in the same home or bubble. Although we could not see you this year, we added a weekly curbside pickup and local delivery option which are both still available now. Thankfully, many of you have continued to shop online and at our resellers who are local and often small businesses.
So yes, our sales are significantly down this year but our long term goals have stayed the same- sell as much jam as possible, work to disrupt the cycle of homelessness in Niagara, create a sense of community and purpose for our volunteers and participants and support individuals transitioning out of homelessness in developing new skills.
We are optimistically waiting for the day when restrictions will be lifted and we will be able to bring back our full team. Until then, every Wednesday, our jam making heroes make as many jars as possible with masks and smiles and an energy that ensures that the main ingredient of our jam continues to be hope.
Sending you some of that hope & love today, from the Jam Fam!