A Halifax organization known for supporting and empowering youth is now supporting another organization in the community.
Young entrepreneurs with Hope Blooms launched a Black Lives Matter salad dressing last October with the goal of raising money to donate to a local Black organization.
One of those entrepreneurs is Makye Clayton, an 18-year-old university student who has been with the organization for nine years.
Clayton is one of the makers of the BLM salad dressing, which is flavoured with chipotle, maple and oregano.
Clayton says it was a way to raise awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement — “to educate people on the subject at hand and what’s going on across the world, and just being able to raise some money for the community that Hope Blooms is in.” he said. “We’re here for the people.”
Hope Blooms has a 10,000-square-foot garden that provides organic fruits and vegetables free to the community.
That produce has also been used to create the Hope Blooms salad dressings for over 10 years. Proceeds from salad dressing sales usually go toward an education fund for the kids to use when they graduate from the program.
Proceeds from BLM dressing, however, were reserved for a local Black nonprofit — 902ManUp.
Shawn Parker of 902ManUp was Clayton’s high school coach. Clayton said that back then, Parker was trying to get the kids involved in community events and introduce them to opportunities.
“We wanted to give back to an organization that’s trying to do the same thing, so that’s why we picked 902ManUp,” Clayton said.
The Black Lives Matter salad dressing raised $800 for the organization, and another $200 came from Hope Blooms’ Hot Cocoa Boys.
Parker says 902ManUp is a group supporting Black men in Halifax. It was founded six years ago when Parker says there was lots of violence within the community.
“We came together as men and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to give back to this community, we’ve got to look out for our younger brothers and change this behaviour.’
“We’ve always been a part of Black Lives Matter, we’ve always been about our lives, how do we affect and how do we get affected by certain things.”
Parker said he’s proud to work with organizations like Hope Blooms.
“It’s beautiful to see these guys and to see where it started from,” he said.
“To see where it’s at today, it’s fabulous, bringing the youth together in the entrepreneurship but also finding out their talents and seeing what they like.”
The $1,000 donation will go to starting up programs at the 902ManUp facility on Gottingen Street.
“We’ve been operating for a long time with no funds, so anything that can help move our program forward and give back to the community,” Parker said.
The Black Lives Matter maple-chipotle salad dressing is available on Atlantic Superstore shelves across the province.