The tote bags are made out of 100 per cent organic cotton. The proceeds go to a grant program, which aims to help small businesses affected by COVID-19. (Susie Gay)

Small business grants available through Okanagan initiative

Susie and Bryan Gay launched ‘This Bag Helps’ to help fellow small business owners during the pandemic

An Okanagan-based initiative that launched in late April is ready to help small businesses.

‘This Bag Helps’ was launched by Susie and Bryan Gay, owners of Penticton Paddle Surf and Antlers Surf.

The first step of the initiative was to sell organic reusable tote bags so they can raise funds for a grant program, aimed at helping small businesses around the province and the country.

With the overwhelming support of the community, Susie said the program is now ready to take in applications from businesses that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve raised close to $8,000 so far, but every day, it just keeps building and growing,” she said.

“I’m just super encouraged, thankful and I feel supported.”

Susie said the feedback has been positive all throughout, from people ordering bags in bulk, spreading the word about the initiative through social media, and leaving them positive comments.

She said thanks to social media, there have been orders not just from the Okanagan, but all the way up to the Kootenays and even across Canada as well.

“People from out east have started to buy bags. We’ve even had some businesses out east apply (for the grant program),” she said.

“GoDaddy, based in the U.S., actually ordered bags from us for their employees, so we have our first international order, which is really cool.”

Susie added they have also launched a sponsorship program, where businesses can sponsor grants either by donating money or buying enough bags to cover the grant costs. The sponsor businesses can choose the industry or location of the business that they want to receive the grant.

“I had a call from Kootenay Insurance, and they wanted to support the cause. They’re buying 50 bags to give out to their small business clients.”

“I recognize we can’t cover months of rent… but reopening has so many costs attached to it. There are PPE requirements and businesses are having to build infrastructure to promote distancing. Opening safely is requiring so much from businesses and we want to help,” she said.

The initiative’s tote bags are 100 per cent designed, made, and printed in Canada. Susie this is so they can support small businesses in every aspect of the process.

READ: Okanagan couple launches initiative to help small businesses during COVID-19

READ: BOYD Autobody and Glass aims to raise $50,000 for Kelowna Child Advocacy Centre


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

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

COVID-19: Vernon Towne Cinema back in action!

Movie lovers rejoice, the historic theatre has reopened with safety protocols in place

Vernon shutterbugs capture rainbow

A rain event July 9 made way for a glorious sight

Fundraiser kicks off for Lake Country families displaced by house fire

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise $5K for those who lost everything in early morning blaze

Liberals push NDP for fall school reopening plan

Local Liberal MLA says NDP government committed to plan being unveiled before Aug. 4

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

COVID-19: Homeless to be relocated from temporary Okanagan shelter

Homeless shelters in Vernon have been combined into one site at the curling rink since April

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read