A new space for La Boîte Verte

Topics: Quebec
July 15, 2015

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La Boîte Verte, a solidarity cooperative and health food store, stood in the heart of downtown Lac-Mégantic. Since it was located within the zone affected by the events of July 6, the store was no longer accessible. La Boîte Verte was gone and it was back to square one. Madeleine Chalifour, president of the cooperative, had neither the energy nor the strength to start all over again.

Just when the La Boîte Verte managers thought it was a lost cause, a colleague showed up in the nick of time and generously offered that they temporarily use two rooms in her home, from which to operate the coop. The colleague's motivation gave them the energy they needed to keep going. "She gave us such a boost," Madeleine said of her friend. Although the store finally had a location, stocks were limited and sales were much lower than before.

For Madeleine, Red Cross assistance was crucial in many ways, and for nearly a year. The support allowed her to buy groceries every week when she had no income. She was also able to put in volunteer hours at La Boîte Verte. "A huge thank you to the Red Cross. I wanted to thank everyone but didn't know how. Their support made a huge difference," said Madeleine.

The search for a new location for La Boîte Verte was not without its difficulties. After several months, the managers had the opportunity to purchase a building. That is when La Boîte Verte turned to the Red Cross for help. "Without the Red Cross and the development agencies, relocating La Boîte Verte would not have been possible," said Madeleine.

Now settled in to its new location, La Boîte Verte is thriving and continues to provide the Lac-Mégantic community with organic groceries. In several weeks,the store will open its own restaurant and patio serving health-minded people dishes made from local, organic ingredients.

As for the future of La Boîte Verte, Madeleine has all kinds of projects in mind. And we wouldn't be surprised to see La Boîte Verte open another location outside Lac-Mégantic.