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The Raw Carrot celebrates a decade in Paris, Ontario

Local NewsThe Raw Carrot celebrates a decade in Paris, Ontario

Local elected officials, staff and volunteers, corporate partners, donors and friends attended the tenth anniversary celebration of The Raw Carrot at Paris Community Church on Thursday, June 13, 2024.

The event commemorated a decade of creating supported employment, community, and the dignity of work for individuals with barriers to traditional employment.  

Photo courtesy The Raw Carrot.

At the event, Will Bouma, MPP for Brantford-Brant and Paris Community Church took a moment to celebrate a $38,400 Resilient Communities Fund grant they received from the provincial government’s Ontario Trillium Foundation that was used to develop and market exciting new products (in addition to their gourmet, handcrafted soup) in The Raw Carrot kitchens. The project has led to more hours of work and more jobs for individuals living with disabilities and mental illness.

“The Paris Community Church, along with The Raw Carrot, have developed and marketed exciting new products in Raw Carrot kitchens that will lead to more jobs for individuals that are living with disabilities and mental illness,” said Bouma. “I am pleased to be a part of a government that helps support and empower people who face barriers to traditional employment.”

Photo courtesy The Raw Carrot.

Before the pandemic, The Raw Carrot opened a new social enterprise annually, creating six to ten jobs per site and offering supported part-time employment for individuals with disabilities and mental illness at each location. With the closure of the economy in 2020, launching large-scale initiatives was challenging. The new product development project was one way to diversify revenue sources and develop new products to improve profit margins.

These changes will ensure the sustainability of four Raw Carrot current locations, providing 34 jobs and supporting future site expansions. All sales from The Raw Carrot products directly contribute to creating supported employment and reducing poverty among those on social assistance in Ontario.

Rebecca Sherbino, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Raw Carrot, is grateful to The Ontario Trillium Foundation for its support.

“Research shows that work matters to people not only to achieve financial security but also as an important contributor to a healthy and vibrant society,” said Sherbino. “By supporting The Raw Carrot, OTF’s helping build healthier and more vibrant communities through supported employment.”

Photo courtesy The Raw Carrot.

Sherbino founded The Raw Carrot in 2014 and has been at the helm ever since. After a decade, it is a nationally recognized social purpose organization that has been successfully providing meaningful employment to people living with disabilities and mental illness on social assistance across Southwestern Ontario.

“Whether it’s helping people learn new things, connect with their community, or simply have fun, organizations like The Raw Carrot deliver experiences that make a difference,” said Stan Cho, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Gaming. “That’s why grant support through the Ontario Trillium Foundation is so important. This funding will help ensure the Raw Carrot and the Paris Community Church remains at the heart of the community for decades to come.”

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Ontario government with a mission to build healthy and vibrant communities across the province. Last year, OTF invested more than $110M into 1,044 community projects and multi-sector partnerships. Projects aim to enhance economic well-being, foster more active lifestyles, support child and youth development, provide spaces for people to come together and connect, and create a more sustainable environment. Visit otf.ca to learn more.

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