Sask. businesses step in with donations after Prairie Harm Reduction denied provincial funding
SASKATOON -- Local businesses are stepping up to try and fill a funding gap for Saskatoon’s safe consumption site.
Prairie Harm Reduction is a clean place for people to safely consume drugs under the supervision of staff who can offer social supports.
The Saskatchewan budget, released Tuesday, did not include funding Prairie Harm Reduction had requested.
“My mother instincts kicked in,” said Tisha Paget, owner of D’Lish.
“Back when my kids were in school, when we were denied funding, or needed cash for things we weren’t given, we’d do bake sales. So I’m like, ‘I can make soup.’”
Paget is preparing to sell 200 litres of pre-ordered Santa Fe Black Bean Lentil Soup on Monday — with all proceeds going to Prairie Harm Reduction.
Darkside Donuts named a long john after Prairie Harm Reduction and donated a portion of its sales to the organization.
Similarily, Sparrow Coffee and City Perks Coffee House are donating a portion of their cinnamon bun sales to the safe consumption site.
At The Better Good, over the next two weeks, all proceeds from Kitako Lake Honey Jars will go to Prairie Harm Reduction.
“The community continues to step up,” said Jason Mercredi, executive director of Prairie Harm Reduction.
“We’re humbled by the people of Saskatchewan for the way they’re really filling a role that government should be filling.”
Prairie Harm Reduction is open Monday-to-Friday during the day. It applied for options of funding to expand its hours:
- $1.3 million to operate 24/7
- $900,000 to run until midnight
- $600,000 to open in the evenings
All three requests were rejected.
Saskatchewan’s finance minister, Donna Harpauer, says while no money is going to the safe consumption site, it’s spending a record amount for other mental health and addictions programming — including youth-focused treatments and suicide prevention.