The South Cariboo Farmers’ Market has raised $1,250 for a vendor affected by the Lytton wildfire.
Market vendors and patrons donated to the cause, which will support Jim “the Fruit Guy” Collier, who remains on evacuation from his Lytton home after a wildfire tore through the town on June 30.
Market manager Amanda Patterson said it was “pretty incredible” seeing this level of community support and hearing the stories about Jim the Fruit Guy.
“I think it’s amazing we all come together and just give what we can to help out,” she said. “Jim is a character. He’s hilarious and has such a great way of relating to the kids. He makes them want to be farmers when they grow up.”
One of the biggest donations came from a fellow vendor, Loralei Snider, of Soulstice Herbals, which sells home-blended teas.
Snider donated an entire day’s profit of “by the cup” donations – $467 – to the cause.
She added the market is like one big extended family.
“Jim is part of our family and we love him. He lost so much in the fire,” Snider said. “(Helping out) it’s just what I do. We do what we can when we can.”
Patterson said Collier was able to return to his farm in Lytton and assess the damage recently.
His home has survived along with several of his cherry and apricot trees, and he now plans to rebuild, Patterson said.
The money collected at the market is meant to support him and his family during the evacuation, which could last a few months, she added.
“We’ll just continue to collect for him until he says no thank you or until the next drastic thing happens and we need to collect for someone else,” Patterson said.
“We’re all struggling, we’re all just doing our best and I’m just thankful we’re here to support one another.”
The weekly farmers’ market was cancelled last week due to an evacuation alert for 100 Mile House, although Big Rock Ranch and People Power were able to sell their vegetables at a temporary venue outside Jackson’s Social Club and Brewhouse.
The market will be held this Friday, July 23, at the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre parking lot. However, it will be for food vendors only.