August 15, 2020

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Uplift July 7, 2020

There has been a lot of jubilation because of the Jubilee Fund lately.

The fund, created during the jubilee year of 2000 by several local churches, is a non-profit lender. It offers loans to organizations and individuals who would not be able to get a loan through banks or other financial institutions. The fund's mission is to help finance projects that will not only reduce poverty, but also have a positive social impact.

That's why the Jubilee Fund's recent announcement about Pollock's Hardware Co-op is so great.

You see, back in 2008, when the neighbourhood hardware store was being saved from closure by transitioning from a private business to a co-op with community members, it needed financial help. The Jubilee Fund, partnering with Assiniboine Credit Union, gave the co-op a $67,000 loan guarantee which was used to buy inventory for the store and help it get on its feet.

Since then, the fund gave the co-op another $50,000 in loan guarantees to help with its cash flow and keep people employed.

But no more. Pollock's Hardware Co-op is now a charter member of the Jubilee Fund's 'Paid in Full Club' after paying off the last of its loans.

"Pollock's Hardware Co-op has struggled over the years to fight off the big box stores and remain a community asset," the fund said in a recent statement. "These difficulties just seem to make the volunteers and staff try harder. Much of the stock has changed, but you can still find 'that one item' that the other stores will never stock."

Now that the loan has been repaid, the money the co-op was paying the Jubilee Fund allows them to have more financial breathing room every month, and its continuing business still relies on the mix of member support and loyal customers.

With the loan paid back, the Jubilee Fund can put that money back out into the community, helping another poverty reduction project.

In fact, it has already done that. Last week, the Jubilee Fund announced a $110,250 loan has been given to the Portage la Prairie Community Revitalization Corporation in collaboration with the local branch of the Royal Bank of Canada.

The CRC is a charitable organization that serves as the delivery point for both federal and provincial support programs for residents living in Portage. Their programs include the Wawokiya Project, which gives intervention and case management for at-risk people; the Local Immigration Partnership, which looks for ways Portage can be more welcoming to newcomers; and Reaching Home, which helps homeless people find housing.

The loan allows the CRC to put down a down payment on a mortgage to buy a 5,000-square-foot commercial building with 10 offices and two boardrooms.

"By providing a down payment loan for Portage la Prairie Community Revitalization Corporation Inc., to become their own landlord, it increases their options to respond to unforeseen events and in difficult times and maintain services," the Jubilee Fund says.

"The rent they paid will now go towards paying a mortgage and will eventually provide additional equity that could come in handy someday."

People at both Pollock's Hardware Co-op and the Community Revitalization Corporation will be singing hallelujah to the Jubilee Fund.

And we should join in their rejoicing by saying thanks to all three of them because without them our communities would be weaker, but with them our communities are stronger.

— Kevin Rollason


Who hasn't played in Winnipeg?

  • Glen Morris has seen a lot of shows and has the evidence to prove it. (Jesse Boily / Winnipeg Free Press)

    Glen Morris has seen a lot of shows and has the evidence to prove it. (Jesse Boily / Winnipeg Free Press)

    Do you know when the Ramones played a show in Winnipeg? Glen Morris knows.

    Morris, a local concert archivist, has ticket stubs, reviews from newspapers, and lot of other music paraphernalia to help him remember where and when music acts played here. He says the Ramones played their one and only time here on June 5, 1983.

    "It's not like you're going to find most of this stuff on the Internet, so it's a good way to settle arguments about who played where and when, my friends tell me," he said.

Futura's future

  • Futura Farms is the future for a lot of local wines, jams and pies.

    The farm business venture, located on 50 acres in St. Andrews, will provide fruit for wine and cider producers and to local commercial companies that make jam, jellies, and pies. They will also sell seed from prairie trees to commercial nurseries to produce rootstocks and seedlings, and have an area where they are conducting long- and short-term studies on elm trees and resistance to Dutch Elm Disease.

Fun is close to home

  • Grand Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the province. (Ruth Bonneville /  Winnipeg Free Press)

    Grand Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the province. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

    Staycations seems to be the new normal this summer and Alan Small recently gave us some reminders of what our province has to offer.

    Starting at Buffalo Point First Nation — the only spot in Manitoba where Minnesota is both south and north — Small touches on other areas including Selkirk, Gimli, Winnipeg Beach, Lake Manitoba and all the way up to the northern parts of the province.

    "We're hoping this is the year of the road trip," says Travel Manitoba vice-president for marketing and communications Linda Whitfield. "We're really hoping people venture out of Winnipeg and, conversely, that rural folks come in to Winnipeg. There's never been a better time."

A bit of sunshine on camping fundraiser

  • The Winnipeg Free Press Sunshine Fund has been an annual tradition for four decades, and while there are no overnight camps this summer, children need your help to go to day camps.

    This year Gimli Bible Camp will send a bus into Winnipeg once a week to bring children back to the camp for the day. The camp is offering almost all of the same activities it normally would, while following social-distancing rules.

    "It is about new experiences and building relationships with the cabin leaders, other campers, and God," says Don Roe, the bible camp's director.

Know any good new restaurants?

  • Tom and Heather Hoang in their newly opened Osborne Street location of Pho Hoang. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

    Tom and Heather Hoang in their newly opened Osborne Street location of Pho Hoang. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

    It's nice to see new restaurants are still popping up these days.

    Jen Zoratti profiled two wife-and-husband teams that are following their culinary dreams. Tom and Heather Hoang opened their latest location of Pho Hoang in Osborne Village last month, while Tristan and Melanie Foucault opened Preservation Hall Eatery and Wine Bar in the former Kelsey's and Barley Brothers location at 655 Empress St., at the end of June.

    "People have actually said, 'Oh, Pho Hoang will bring life back to Osborne'," said Heather Hoang. "It made us feel like it's worth it."

    Tristan Foucault, the former chef at Peasant Cookery, said their restaurant is "as farm-to-table as we can be. It's a lot of old-world stuff like charcuterie."

Your weekly squee

Western lowland gorilla Mambele clutches her nine-day-old baby, yet unnamed, at the Antwerp Zoo in Antwerp, Belgium on July 3. (Virginia Mayo / The Associated Press)

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