Saturday saw the south part of the Art Hauser Centre parking lot turned into an outdoor market filled with unique district entrepreneur who all present for a common cause.
For a $4 admission, members of the public could enter and visit over 75 vendors’ booths that were part of the Rustic Market. They could also help raise money for Harley’s House, a transition home that’s being built right here in Prince Albert.
“The Rustic Market was created as a fundraiser for Harley’s House,” explained event co-ordinator Jody Foy.
“We have the land purchased and everything, but unfortunately, due to Covid, a lot of our fundraising has been put to a halt, so it has backtracked us a bit.”
Foy wasn’t the only one who understood the importance of the fundraiser, which also raised funds though the rental of vendor spaces for the event.
Andrea Gouldhawke of Andy’s Custom Creations said Harley’s House was a good cause, and she was happy to support it.
“I just like supporting things where they money is going towards something that’s a good cause,” she said.
“Harley’s house is a beautiful, beautiful cause that a number of individuals have been working on for a handful of years,” added Alyssa Nagy of Kaze Productions, a local supplier of anime fandom memorabilia. “The idea is that it’s going to be a transitionary home for youth that really need help getting into more adult homes.”
Merle Lee Ann Pratt, of Merle Le Ann’s Kitchen, was selling copies of her cookbook, along with several of her farm-grown vegetables, including her unique looking Gremlin Gourds. As with other vendors, she was happy to support a non-profit in need.
“The cause for Harley’s House is awesome,” she said. “They’ve been working on that fund for at least 3 years.”
Michael Grey, co-owner of the M & T Jamaican Food Cookout, also thinks highly of the fundraiser.
“It’s very important because we just want to give back, but there’s more than one reason,” she said. “It is for the kids, and it’s a good cause, too.
“It’s a beautiful idea because we know that a lot of young people, young men, young ladies, when they transition, they have nowhere to go. They are left on their own, so a project like this is very important for the community.”
Painter Earl MacKay, originally from Thompson, Manitoba, has always valued giving back to the community he lives in.
“Harley’s House is there to help people, and I like helping people in any way I can,” said MacKay.
“Back home in Thompson, I used to get a bunch of paintings together and hold them out for raffles. I’d make a couple thousand bucks here and there, for the school, and the church, and for the hospital’s children’s ward.”
MacKay’s wife, Kimberly, agreed.
“Whenever we hear it’s for a cause of some sort, we usually jump on those because we really love to help people as much as we can,” she said.
Lynn Schaan, a seller of vintage items such as cookwear, glass, and costume jewelry, was also very passionate about the cause. Schaan saw the event as more than just an opportunity to make a profit for herself.
“When I read about the cause, it was really close to my heart. I have a son who was in foster care until we adopted him, so it really tugged at my heart strings,” said Schaan.
“I really believe there should be somewhere that people can transition, especially older children that are coming out of foster care, and they’re thrown into a world that they’re really not prepared for, in a lot of cases, so I think it’s a wonderful cause.
“I know how important transition is from a foster home even to an adoptive home, so to transfer from a foster home for an older child into society as we know it, in the system, can be very difficult. I believe the longer you’ve been in foster care would make it more difficult to transition.”
As a former educator, organizer Foy also saw much of the struggle with youth being transitioned out of the foster care system, taking it upon herself to help her former students out.
“I used to work for the school system, in a high school classroom in lifeskills, and it ate at me,” Foy said.
“Once the student turns 18, they don’t know where to go. They don’t know what to do, and I would sit up all night wondering ‘Where are they sleeping? Have they eaten?’
“There were a few times I found myself out at night, before I had kids, 10 o’clock at night, knowing one of my students was out there, sleeping in the park, and I’d have McDonald’s (food) in the car, and I’d be driving around the city to find them and give them a meal.
“Finally, I was like ‘We’ve got to change this!’ That’s when I came up with Harley’s House.”
Though the organization run by the Giradi Foundation does own a piece of land in the West Flat, they have yet to break ground with constructing the building.
Eventually, the Harley’s House project would physically include independent suites for each resident.
“There’ll be one staff on hand who will be a mentor, through leading residents with looking at flyers… (and making) a budget to help them with transitioning,” Foy said. “That’s what Harley’s House is all about. It’s definitely needed in the community.
“We are hoping to jumpstart our fundraising again soon, so we do have a few things on the go we haven’t announced yet.”
To either donate or learn more about the Harley’s House Transition Home, check out www.giradifoundation.ca