Johan Raes smiles while helping a customer at the South Cariboo Farmer’s Market on May 8. (Patrick Davies - 100 Mile Free Press)

Community rallies together after theft at South Cariboo Farmer’s Market

‘I wish it had never happened but I thank everybody for it so much’

While the first South Cariboo Farmers Market of 2020 was a success overall, it was slightly marred at the end when the cashbox of Helmcken Chocolates was stolen.

Market manager Amanda Patterson said that while most people are happy to come to support their local farmers and bakers during these trying times, an unknown individual took an opportunity to steal from the Helmcken Chocolates’ booth. Patterson said it happened while they were tearing down the market and the perimeter set up to control the flow of people into the market.

“The farmers market itself, we really are a little family so it was definitely taken hard by all of us who were here to support the market,” Patterson said. “So throughout the week Karen Peterson, with Blissed Out Yoga and Fitness, and Kristi Iverson, with 100 Mile Nordics and myself put out a post asking (the community for support.)”

RELATED: South Cariboo Farmers Market returns for 2020 season

Their combined efforts along with community donations managed to raise $1,085 to replace the stolen cashbox, that was presented Johan and Maryse Raes at the end of the market on Friday, May 8. Both Johan and Maryse were visibly moved, with a few tears being shed, by the generosity and were incredibly thankful the community came together to support them.

“It’s not easy to take the money because I wish it had never happened but I thank everybody for it so much,” Johan said.

No charges have been filed with the RCMP or insurance, Patterson said, in part due to the shock following the theft, the first one she dealt with as the market manager. Despite this, she’s not angry at the individual who made off with the money.

“To whoever took the box, if you need help, if you need food please come and talk to us so we can find the right supports for you to make sure you are taken care of as a person,” Patterson said.

Patterson can’t thank the community members enough who shelled out their own money during these uncertain times to help replace some of the lost profits. That support and camaraderie is what 100 Mile House is all about, in her opinion, and she feels its important to maintain that generous identity in this crisis situation the world finds itself in.

“The whole community really stood up and showed them who we are, so thank you,” Patterson said.

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Johan and Maryse Raes help customers at the South Cariboo Farmer’s Market on May 8. (Patrick Davies - 100 Mile Free Press)

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