Introducing Niagara's Newest Social Enterprise - Southridge Jam Company

Spreading Hope in Partnership with the Southridge Shelter

The Southridge Jam Company is a social enterprise created around these ideals. We offer men and women who have experienced homelessness an opportunity to develop job skills while producing delicious jams and jellies.  Southridge’s involvement in the community has helped us forge effective partnerships with local farms, allowing us to repurpose quality fruit that would have been wasted due to cosmetic or size imperfections. These mutually beneficial partnerships help to both promote Niagara produce, as well as keep our overhead costs low.

With the guidance of our Red Seal Chef, Cam Block, program participants use this fresh fruit to produce delicious jams and jellies. Program participants help throughout the various stages of production and sales, so that they can explore and develop their God-given abilities. The Southridge Jam Company will largely sell online, as well as to local businesses and at craft shows and farmers markets.

As a social enterprise, Southridge Jam Company was born out of the effort to meet all three aspects of what it takes to live a happy and healthy life. Through our 40-bed homeless shelter in St. Catharines, the Southridge Shelter has been meeting the needs of home and friendship since 2005, providing temporary emergency housing to more than 800 homeless men and women facing crisis each year. Lives are transformed as staff and volunteers journey alongside people in their transition from the shelter.

The Southridge Jam Company further broadens the impact of Southridge Shelter by providing a sense of purpose to its participants, generating stability and positive momentum as they transition out of homelessness. By using cosmetically imperfect fruit and turning it into a tasty jam and jellies, program participants internalize that they have value and can contribute despite their struggles.

“The journey from the streets to gainful employment is often a very long and lonely road. The Southridge Jam Company is here to support people as they move forward in this journey and help them stay off the streets for good.”  Tim Arnold, Outreach Director: Southridge Church

"January 30, 2016 kicked off Niagara’s Year of Social Enterprise with the Niagara Social Enterprise Forum where social entrepreneurs from across the region gathered to co-create what social entrepreneurship/enterprise training and support will look like in Niagara. The Year of Social Enterprise will help us bring a new entrepreneurial mindset to solve many of the social and economic issues our community is confronting. In 2016, we can begin to grasp our challenges and opportunities and address them as a collective. We each have a role in building a healthy, agile social entrepreneurial ecosystem in Niagara." ~Social Enterprise Niagara

Editor's Note: We founded our myNiagaraOnline Community Platform in 2009 based on the vision that inclusivity and improved connectivity ultimately expands the economic development capacity of all local communities. Our local networks function based on a social enterprise business model that provides the opportunity for all community groups to collaboratively partner with other community members in a sustainable and highly cost effective manner for the mutual benefit of all participants.

We are proud to be part of the growing Niagara Social Enterprise movement in Niagara and look forward to sharing profile articles highlighting the many social entrepreneurs that are contributing to the growth of social innovation in Niagara. Interested to have your Social Enterprise profiled via our myNiagara Online Platform?  Please send us a request