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Thank You, Peterborough: Thoughts on Community Support

Thank You, Peterborough: Thoughts on Community Support | Wild Rock Outfitters

This one’s about gratitude. No one needs another article telling them 2020 was a dismal year, but in the rush to put it behind us and find our way through a second lockdown, we can’t forget to say thank you. Some of these thoughts already made into a newsletter and Facebook post, but we wanted to give them a more permanent home on the site – and of course, we think the message bears repeating.

In March of 2020 it wasn’t clear what the future held, or whether Wild Rock Outfitters would continue to be part of it. We made it through with a little ingenuity and a lot of support from our community. In the process, we reaffirmed the people we’d like to be and made sure our business reflected that. As ever, that involves choosing durable products manufactured with an eye towards reduced environmental impact; it means fostering a workplace that attracts talented, knowledgeable staff. But that simply isn’t possible in a vacuum.

Our position here in Peterborough meant that we were still able to responsibly encourage people to go outside and play. Outdoor activities have been a solace for many of us, whether it’s a high-impact workout or just a chance to step away from the news cycle. Yet as necessary as that is to maintaining balance in a difficult time, we recognize how fortunate we are. Too many people in our community struggle to meet basic needs, let alone take advantage of the kind of leisure activities we enjoy. We know because we see it out our front window.

That’s why we believe in the work of YES Shelter for Youth and Families, which provides emergency shelter for young people in crisis. Their mandate also includes offering transitional housing, education, and essential supplies for homeless youth. They present an understanding, uplifting alternative that has made them one of our favourite charities since 2015. They’re especially needed now that COVID has made life that much more precarious.

So when we first opened our doors to in-store shopping again, we made facemasks available for a small donation earmarked for YES Shelter for Youth and Families. More significantly, if you used our online store you may have noticed the option to add a donation at checkout. Many of you added a generous contribution to your order. Combined with a sale on previous years’ PCC gear dedicated to YES, we more than doubled November’s total of $420 in donations and gave just over $1000 to the shelter in the month of December. At the time of writing in January, donations are still coming in.

Those donations are arriving at an especially important time, with the need for self-isolation adding additional mental health stressors and making employment opportunities thinner on the ground. When you already struggle to make ends meet, you don’t need more problems to deal with. Yet at the same time as these issues are increasing, some sources of support have become unavailable. For instance, on our end, we were unable to organize a YES Shelter fundraising night as part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival as we have in years past. Many attendees of the virtual festival added a donation to their online ticket purchases instead. We want those donors to know their generosity helps make tangible improvements in people’s lives. 

This has been a tricky post because it could so easily sound like a backpatting exercise. Rather, we hope that you read this as a thank-you for your support of Wild Rock and what we believe in.  We feel that your support is a vote to keep Peterborough’s downtown healthy, and we’d like to pay that support forward. We reject the “not in my backyard” mentality and support initiatives like the safe injection site 250m from our business. We understand that donations and stopgap measures aren't always enough, so we support increased taxation if it goes towards improving the lives of the less fortunate. Above all, we believe in facing problems like homelessness in Peterborough openly and honestly. And we believe that by pulling together, small and incremental acts of solidarity can make a difference.

Thank you for your support,

The Wild Rock Team

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