Charity

Hope Blooms salad dressings to go on sale in Halifax Atlantic Superstores

Loblaw said it will invest $10,000 in the Hope Blooms’s scholarship program.

Hope Blooms children show off their salad dressing.
Hope Blooms children show off their salad dressing.   Guillaume Lapointe-Gagner

Four Atlantic Superstores in the Halifax area will be selling Hope Blooms salad dressings and Loblaw will also be investing $10,000 in the Hope Blooms scholarship fund.

The Hope Blooms children make all of their salad dressings from scratch. The dressings are made from food they grow in a community garden in the north end of Halifax.

“We all plan to go on to [post-]secondary education,” said Mamadou Wade, a child in the Hope Blooms program at the Thursday announcement. “This is very big for us.”

Friends, families, community leaders, and neighbours alike gathered to celebrate the grassroots organization.

This isn’t the first time the organization is in the spotlight. Two years ago, they were featured on CBC’s Dragons Den. During their pitch, they asked the Dragons for $10,000 in exchange for five per cent of their business.

Four of the five Dragons gave them the money. Hope Blooms ended up with $40,000 and the Dragon’s only request was the money be put back into Hope Blooms. The money allowed the group to make more salad dressing and a scholarship fund to be used for post-secondary education.

Hope Blooms salad dressing comes in four flavours.
Hope Blooms salad dressing comes in four flavours.   Guillaume Lapointe-Gagner

With Loblaw’s investment of $10,000, Hope Blooms founder Jessie Jollymore said the scholarship fund will have a lasting impact.

“It’s going to ensure that every single youth has the money available to continue post secondary education,” she said.

Jollymore reiterated the program wasn’t just about building a scholarship fund – it was also a way to teach the children valuable skills for the future. She said growing the food, preparing it, packaging it in a bottle, and putting the salad dressings on store shelves instils a good work ethic into the kids.

Loblaw will also set the children up with mentorships and training on public relations and merchandising.

Program co-ordinator Alvero Wiggins said seeing the final product in a grocery store like the Atlantic Superstore is a dream come true.

“Seeing it in real life is so empowering,” he said. “Our youth really feel that what they’re doing is really worth something. It’s making a difference.”

Signal TV reporter Dillon White talked with Wiggins and several Hope Blooms children about the success of the program.

Mayor Mike Savage also made an appearance at the announcement. He said the Loblaw partnership showcases what could be done in a community.

“Governments think they have the answers. They don’t,” said Savage. “Communities have the answer. The partnership is a shining example of [the] private sector working with not-for-profits to better their community.”

The collaboration was brokered by Prince’s Charity Canada – the Canadian charitable office for the Prince of Wales. The business branch of the charity, the Prince’s Canadian Responsible Business Network, gives the private sector opportunities to collaborate with small local groups – in this case, Loblaw and Hope Blooms.

Mark Boudreau, director of corporate affairs for Loblaw, said the company decided to partner with Prince’s Charities Canada because it thinks being a part of communities is important.

“We want this relationship to be a meaningful relationship, not just a vendor relationship,” said Boudreau.