Salt of the earth
P.E.I. company hopes to raise funds for Random Acts of Kindness and other community groups
Two P.E.I. entrepreneurs are hoping to bring the discussion around mental health services to every dinner table in the province and eventually across the country. Co-founders Darren Blanchard and Nathan Gamauf describe their Salts of the Earth initiative as a social enterprise with a goal of creating mental health awareness while raising funds for Random Acts of Kindness (RAOK) P.E.I. and other community groups. Blanchard, who was friends with RAOK founder Anna Howard, said everyone is affected by mental health struggles.
“The supper table is a place where the family congregates and friends get together and what’s usually on the table? Salt,” said Blanchard. “So if you’re passing the salt around, do a mental check for yourself and for everyone around the table. “Everybody knows somebody affected by mental health issues… And we all, individually, go through it at different points in our lives. Whether you’ve gone through it at this point, there could be someday down the road where you may need support that’s not there.”
The salts are also offered as a unique fundraising tool for sports teams, school groups and community organizations. Packs containing four different salts are offered to groups for $12 a box with $2 going towards RAOK. Groups would then sell those packages for $20 each, with them keeping $8 of the sale.
With the initiative launching next week, Blanchard said he has received a lot of positive feedback and interest.
Gamauf said the initiative offers a healthier replacement to the common chocolate bar campaigns. “It’s a non-perishable and top-quality healthy product that you can make an excellent return on,” said Gamauf. “It’s perfect for any kind of organization that’s trying to raise a few bucks for themselves while also benefitting a good cause here on the Island.”
The salts will also be available directly through the RAOK website. The two own the P.E.I. Sea Salt Company, with Blanchard previously working with Howard on a similar initiative. Howard founded RAOK as a way of “paying it forward” before she died in January. Blanchard has remained a volunteer with the group, which still exists with a board of directors, and said the initiative aims to help the group grow. “(Howard) was such a genuine human being trying to help anybody and everybody through these random acts of kindness,” he said.
“This took on an unbelievable meaning to me because of Anna’s passing… It made me really look at our situation on P.E.I. in regards to mental health.” The past few months have seen a major advocacy push for enhanced mental health services on P.E.I.
Apart from bolstering support for mental health, Gamauf said those purchasing the salts will also get a premium product. The authentic and organic solar evaporated sea salts have no additives or preservatives and come in reusable grinders. Currently the packages come with four flavours, Himalayan, Hawaiian Red, Australian and Mediterranean, although the two hope to include more flavours if the campaign takes off.
“Any flavour you can think of can be infused into salt,” said Gamauf, adding cranberry, blueberry and smoked salt as possible flavours. “What we have now is a good cross-section of some of the best salts in the world.”
Blanchard said that once established in P.E.I., he hopes to bring the campaign to the rest of the country with an additional goal of being able to employ individuals suffering from mental health issues.
“And just keep building it as big as we can because that’s more money coming back to an organization here in P.E.I. focused on mental health,” said Blanchard.
Nathan Gamauf, left, and Darren Blanchard, of the P.E.I. Sea Salt Company, show the products from their Salts Of The Earth social campaign, which aims to be a fundraising tool for community organizations while raising money for Random Acts of Kindness (RAOK) P.E.I. and other mental-health initiatives.