Holiday Vendor Profile: Season’s greetings from our vendors
“Selling Megaphone this time of year, I’m excited to see how far away they go. For instance, I’m always asking people, because at the (Eastside) flea market I meet quite a few people. The families of people who live here come to visit and at Christmas time there are so many people from different areas, I’m always kind of keeping a mental note. If I hear an accent, I ask them if they’re vacationing here.
“This is a lovely paper because it has lots of community information about the Downtown Eastside.
“I always tell people the Downtown Eastside has been stigmatized with people saying that it’s always so dark. So we hope that the light that Hope in Shadows brings will help people take that to other places and show people that it’s not all darkness that everyone says it is. I really like that, when I explain to people this is our little light trying to shine in the darkness of the Downtown Eastside.
“I think my most memorable moment this year was at the (Megaphone breakfast) fundraiser. That fundraiser was really nice, I got to meet people I’ve never met before.
“I’m very proud to have a photo of mine chosen in the Hope in Shadows calendar. (Editor’s note: Valerie’s February 2018 photo won the Julie Rogers Memorial Award for Best Portrait.)
“I’ve had a few really highlighted moments this year. I’ve got a new place in this new building my church, Grandview Calvary, is building and that’s another place I’ll bring the Hope in Shadows light to.
“I’m so grateful to that flea market for sponsoring that table for us. They’ve been wonderfully kind to give us that table. I think their light has shined on helping us. It wouldn't hurt to mention Alberta, with the Eastside Flea, she’s an absolute love bug. (Editor’s note: Megaphone has a table at the Eastside Flea at 1024 Main St. For times, visit eastsideflea.com.)
“My biggest accomplishment this year, I think that would be the photo in the calendar. I thought it was so creative to go into the florist and get carnations in a shape of a heart because this year’s theme was Heart and Soul. When I asked that little lady (Christiane Bordier, featured in the picture) to hold the flowers, it seemed to really light her face up.
“I am proud of the way my photo has reached so many people’s kitchens and hung on so many people’s walls. I just try to be a brightness in the so-called dark Downtown Eastside.
“The photo in the calendar was a thrilling surprise too. There are so many photos submitted and I still don’t know what the heart and soul of it is and I really like the winning (cover) photo this year. They had the biggest smile in their hearts when their photo was taken that day.
“It’s been a challenge with the nerves in the heels of my feet this year. I try to be so positive of being in constant pain and trying to be positive in my happy little self. I got rid of the pain in my hip and it was so much brighter after that. It started as an uncomfortableness and progressed to where it’s actually been really painful and that’s been my biggest challenge.
“In the new year, I'm looking forward to the prospect of a new home to live in. I’m also looking forward to being a bigger part of Megaphone this year.
“I’m going to try and write a couple little pieces for the magazine. I think a new home and some answers for this nerve problem in my feet, and meeting some people at Christmas selling calendars too. That’s the highlight.
“I’d like to thank all the lovely, warmhearted, supportive people who keep buying Megaphone and Hope in Shadows throughout the year and this season.
“I think they’re really special. A big thanks to them.”
Valerie sells in Vancouver at the Eastside Flea and at her church, Grandview Calvary. Photo by Geoff Webb.