Thursday, November 21, 2013

Spokesmama Shopping Guide: Hope In Shadows Calendars

"The Kids of Campbell Avenue" by Rose Jack
First Place - 2013 Downtown Eastside Photography Contest
Have you got someone a bit hard to buy for on your list? Or maybe you need to get something for the 'secret Santa' gift exchange at work? I've got a great idea for you that's local, green & helps make a difference to people living in poverty: a Hope in Shadows calendar.

Hope in Shadows is a community project with many facets, including a photo contest & an employment program. In the spring, single-use cameras are handed out at a special event in the Downtown East Side (& this year the North Shore too), then they're collected for an annual contest, empowering residents to tell their stories visually & share the beauty that can be found in their neighbourhood. The winning photographers receive prize money & are featured in the calendar as well as at an exhibition later in the year. Hope in Shadows also supports low-income people by providing them with an opportunity to become authorized vendors. The vendors receive some sales training & then buy the calendars for $10 & then sell them for $20.

We picked up a calendar at Kingsgate mall when I bumped into Rod at the flu vaccine clinic. Rod has been selling the calendars on & off for the past eight years. He doesn't have a particular spot, like some of the vendors you'll see downtown, but walks around when the weather is nice & sometimes sells as many as ten a day.

When I asked what the work means to him, Rod replies, "Selling the calendars helps out big time. I'm on disability, so I only get paid once a month. This helps me get groceries & bus fare."

I love supporting the Hope in Shadows project & have been buying these calendars for years. We always put one up in our kitchen & often buy another as a gift. Buying a calendar from a street vendor makes a real difference in that person's life--who doesn't need a little extra income at this time of year? Look for one of the over 200 authorized vendors in Vancouver & North Vancouver & pick up a calendar or two from them.

For more information about the project, visit the Hope in Shadows website. You can also see the last 11 years of Hope in Shadows photos on Flickr here.

Follow Spokesmama here too:


  1. I love the calenders and it's a great way for people to earn some income. Thanks for highlighting the calenders!


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