City councillor Loyal Wooldridge, together with other local businesses, launched a stimulus program to help businesses bounce back from the pandemic’s effects. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

Kelowna councillor creates campaign to help small businesses, charity

Made In YLW aims to support local businesses affected by COVID-19

A local city councillor has launched a new project to help small businesses and the YMCA of Okanagan.

Loyal Wooldridge created ‘Made In YLW’, a stimulus program, which will generate cash flow for local businesses while giving to the YMCA at the same time.

Wooldridge partnered with other local businesses including Ignite Design, Fleek Factory, and You Are Collective.

“Many businesses and charities have been faced with financial hardships during the closures through COVID-19. So a group of local leaders and creatives have decided to come together and create this program,” he said.

“The reason we chose the YMCA is because they have a plethora of programs that benefit both physical and mental health, which many people are struggling with at this time. The money raised will actually help more vulnerable people, children, families and seniors get to the programs that they need.”

Small businesses can become partner retailers by buying the shirts and bags wholesale. Wooldridge said the wholesale price also includes the donation to the YMCA. He said the profit retail partners make from selling the products at an affordable price will be theirs to keep so they can rebuild.

“Right now, we’ve got a list of people willing and able to take the shirts on. Today (June 1), we’re launching them wholesale to retailers and about mid-June or so, we’ll release them to the public,” Wooldridge said.

Rhonda Zakala, vice president of fund development and marketing department with the YMCA of Okanagan said the campaign means a lot to them.

“We’re extremely grateful to Loyal and the collective that has come together for us. Right now, a lot of our fundraising events, initiatives and dollars are greatly reduced,” she said.

“We expect that when families return to the YMCA, they’re going to need us more than ever financially and health-wise. We serve about 17,000 members right now and about one in five of those members needs financial assistance to participate, so we expect an increase in that.”

Besides financial assistance for members, Zakala said the funds raised from ‘Made In YLW’ will go towards food services, school basics for young families, childcare for essential workers, as well as emergency funding for staff.

Wooldridge and Zakala said they hope the community supports the campaign as it will give back to the community.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our city. Kelowna is one of the biggest entrepreneur capitals of Canada and so it’s really about bringing the power of small businesses together and promoting that with unity.”

“In this day and age of e-commerce, it’s really easy to order from all over the world but we’re asking people to think wisely where you’re spending your dollars and if you can spend it locally with small businesses, all the better.”

Loyal Hair, Wooldridge’s own business, is participating in the project. All proceeds made from shirt and bag sales at the salon will go towards the YMCA.

For more information on the initiative, visit the website.

READ: New restaurant set to open across Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

READ: Playgrounds to reopen across the Okanagan on June 1


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

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