More than ten years ago, staff working with youth on extended society care with The Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton proposed the concept of a for a donor driven resource that would help supplement the limited income of youth living independently by providing free household and hygiene products. That idea came to fruition in the form of Market 26 which just celebrated its tenth anniversary.
Janice D’Agostino, one of the Market 26 co-founders, said that over the years, youth have continued to access the market – between 80-90 youth a year – and they repeatedly express their appreciation for the added support it provides.
As Ms. D’Agostino explains, when a youth is budgeting their dollars with a very limited income, items like paper towels, laundry soap and deodorant are not high on the priority list. And as most consumers know, such household and hygiene products can add up quickly. The operation of Market 26 ensures that despite limited income, youth living independently don’t have to go without general household items that many people take for granted.
Each month, youth between the ages of 16-21 years of age, who are in extended society care and living independently, are able to select ten items from the store free of charge. In addition, youth can help themselves to donations of non-perishable food that is donated to the agency by various business and organizations throughout the year.
The start-up funding for Market 26 was provided through a one-time grant courtesy of the City of Hamilton’s Homelessness Initiative. Shelves continue to be stocked through donated funds and through third-party donation drives.
The agency is greatly appreciative of the continued effort of staff to ensure Market 26 continues to run efficiently and effectively, and to donors who continue to support this tremendous youth resource.