Shop Local and Benefit the Community at Gratitude Market in Culver City
When I first started this blog seven years ago, one of the first events I produced was a fundraiser, Desserts for Disaster Relief, benefiting the victims of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. I am grateful to everyone who came together to help raise money for relief efforts, and am thankful for their friendship and kindness. One of the businesses I worked with for this event, The Whole 9 Gallery and The Peace Project (their non-profit), has recently evolved into several avenues of goodwill.
The Whole 9 Gallery is now the Gratitude Market. I visited and interviewed Lisa, who will give you a clearer idea of what they do and how it all came together.
Interview with Lisa Schultz (Gratitude Market / The Peace Project)
Tell me how the Gratitude Market came to be
When the lockdown happened in March and it became clear we were going to have to close The Whole 9 Gallery, I reached out to local community leaders to ask how we could use our resources to help. It became clear that families of students in the Culver City Unified School District were in need of food so we immediately turned The Whole 9 Gallery into a food bank and, in partnership with our donors and the local community, organized a weekly distribution that included food we purchased, donated food, fruit from neighbors trees and other necessities. In total, we sent home $250K of food and necessities to 1,000 local families – ensuring that our neighbors, CCUSD families, and our restaurant workers had enough food during the early months of COVID. That got us thinking about sharing food with the community, so we transformed our space, changed our name, and opened back up – selling most of the great stuff we had at The Whole 9 Gallery like artisanal jewelry, blown glass, ceramics, and other cool stuff from US and international artisans, plus freshly baked bread and specialty foods. We also added in a food pantry and have opened it up on Wednesdays to give our neighbors who need food a hand.
How does the Gratitude Market’s profits benefit the food pantry and what are some examples of monetary amounts and how they benefit the non-profit.
The motivation behind everything we do is to support our humanitarian work which has spanned four continents (including the US) since we launched The Peace Project in 2010. Right now, our work is focused on feeding our local community. Gratitude Market supports that by providing space, human resources, and an opportunity to evangelize what we’re doing with our customers and the community and get them involved. We raise money to cover program expenses — right now, all money raised is being put towards food for the pantry, e.g., $40 buys groceries for one family.
How do you choose your vendors?
We have over 200 makers represented in Gratitude Market — many of them local craftspeople, but also international brands like Canaan which hails from Palestine, an area where we’ve been doing humanitarian work through our non-profit, The Peace Project. Our goal is to represent the food and crafts of the United States and countries and regions that are important to us and to use food and art to share stories of each country’s culture, humanity, and their struggles.
Who are some of the local artisans and vendors who have items at the Gratitude Market and what do you anticipate being big sellers for the holiday season?
We have dozens of local artisans including those based in and around Culver City such as:
We have an incredible selection of lovely, well-priced artisanal gift items and anticipate those, plus our gift baskets that may include specialty foods…or even self care like perfume and candles will appeal to folks who want to gift something that is comforting and well-priced.
How would you like to see Gratitude Market evolve in the future?
We are continuing to add specialty foods and staples from around the world, as well as a limited supply of fresh vegetables and herbs. We’re also putting together a community recipe box that customers (or anyone that comes into the market) can draw from or add to, and just added a community board at the back of the space where community members can post info about their businesses and events. Plus, our food pantry is now open on Wednesdays and provides food for some of our neighbors…provided by our neighbors.
Our goals for the future are simple — keep supporting artisans, providing something of value to the community, and sharing with others who need a hand up. The last ten years have shown us that could take us, literally, anywhere 🙂
How can people get involved?
- STEP INSIDE
Pick up something to eat or a gift for a loved one.
- CLEAN OUT YOUR PANTRY
Drop off low sugar cereal, pasta, rice, sauce, soup, tuna, etc. (Make sure there’s at least 3 months until expiration date.)
- SHARE YOUR ABUNDANCE
We’re grateful for tax deductible donations of any amount at ThePeaceProject.com/give
- TELL YOUR FRIENDS!
Follow the Gratitude Market and visit their website
Westside Mommy supports the Gratitude Market. Images used with permission and provided by Lisa Schultz.