“And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, for auld lang syne.”
This year we saw incredible positive change here at Raven Reads. We also encountered, what we hope, were some of the most disruptive challenges that Mother Nature could throw at us. *jinx* (We also learned some fun, new meteorological terminology in the process.)
In January we officially stopped being a "home-based business" and moved out of my basement (yay!) And in April we moved into our new office and warehouse (Kamloops, BC) which gave us the ability to move and store materials much easier. (We actually had to move out and back in again thanks to some issues with occupancy permits – long story.)
By June we were rockin’ and rolling until a massive ‘heat dome’ that brought 49 degrees Celsius temperatures to the Interior of BC which made work conditions very unsafe for our team. This meant shutting down operations, or adjusting work hours, until temperatures dropped (and until I could find some portable air conditioners at Home Depot). I should add that trying to preserve 1,000's of bars of soap in these temperatures is no easy feat!
On the heels of the ‘Heat Dome’ came the absolute devastation of our neighbors in Lytton, BC which saw their entire community destroyed by wildfire. This heartbreaking moment led us into two months of a series of wildfires burning all around our community. Our Kamloops team live 40 minutes away in a small community called Logan Lake. Every day our team would commute to Kamloops counting the plumes of smoke in every direction and it certainly put our families on edge. Our warehouse was put on Evacuation Alert on August 7th and our teams’ homes were evacuated later that month. Through all of this, our incredible team persevered and always kept our customers front of mind, I can only hope that this meant very few delays for our subscribers, and we are very thankful for your patience.
But Mother Nature was not done with us yet. After a mild Fall season, our province was hit with a series of destructive mudslides and flooding – the bulk of which occurred on the main highways connecting the Vancouver-region with the southern Interior of BC. Flooding and mudslides completely wiped out three major highways and every rail line connecting the Lower Mainland from the rest of Canada. We wish to thank all of the contractors, road builders, rail workers, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Ministry of Public Safety for getting these roadways up and running in an unimaginable amount of time.
But enough about that. Over to you.
YOU have helped us have a remarkable year despite all that Mother Nature has thrown at us.
Early this year we announced that for every new junior subscription sold we would donate one book to an Indigenous youth literacy program. We are happy to announce that this year we sold 850 new junior subscriptions, which means 850 books will be headed to Indigenous youth literacy programs in 2022. Early in 2022, we will be making a formal announcement about where these books will be going so you can follow the impact your support has had.
In 2021, we also saw exponential growth to our entire subscription count. While this means growth for Raven Reads, it also means that since we launched, we have put over $500,000 CAD back into the hands of Indigenous entrepreneurs across Canada and the USA. This money goes straight into small business owned by Indigenous entrepreneurs (67% women-owned).
Every dollar we invest in the purchase of goods for our boxes has an impact and helps to build strong families and strong communities.
This is what makes us feel good. And we hope it makes you feel good too.
With that, we wish to thank you for an incredible year of support.
From all of us at Raven Reads, Happy New Year.
~ Nicole, Kirsten, Victoria, Colleen, Jessica and Lacey.