This holiday season Vancouverites have the opportunity to support low-income workers and at the same time cover their gifts in coastal-themed wrapping paper.
Megaphone, a non-profit monthly magazine that operates in Vancouver and Victoria, is behind the festive initiative. Megaphone is distributed by 175 low-income vendors, the vendors buy each magazine for 75 cents and sell it for $2, keeping the profit.
In its December issue, Megaphone is highlighting nine of its vendors with their portraits and stories. Also in the pages of the magazine will be two vendor-designed sheets of wrapping paper, both inspired by the west coast.
Stephen Scott is one of those vendors. Scott came to Vancouver in 1994 looking for a fresh start after surviving two life-threatening accidents and a major health scare. In his 26 years in Vancouver, he has overcome homelessness and a battle with substance use. He attributes this growth in part to his role delivering the magazine.
“I have very good people in my life as a result of Megaphone,” Scott said. “I’m so grateful. The community support I’ve found has helped me create my own family.”
Scott’s wrapping paper features a nature scene with trees, a deer and other woodland animals on a rich red background.
Vendor Louise Boileven is the artist behind the second wrapping paper design. For over a decade Boileven has been involved in outreach work at WISH Drop-In Centre. She says that in addition to allowing her to earn extra money by selling publications, there are social benefits to being a vendor.
“I like the concept of support. It’s helping me get out there,” she said. “I like that it’s an interactive job.”
Boileven’s wrapping paper features an orca clad in a Santa hat jumping out of a splash of water, repeated on a green background.
To get your own copy of Megaphone and get the wrapping paper yourself you can find a vendor closest to you on their website.