BROCKVILLE -- Girls Inc. of Upper Canada is a small non-profit that inspires girls to be strong, smart and bold in everything they do, through in-school and community based programming.

This year's summer fundraising campaign came to a grinding halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the charity is no where near its yearly goal.

“In 2019, 39 per cent of our annual income came from fundraisers such as our hockey tournament and barbecues, so we are feeling that impact right now really bad,” says Kim Feen, a program facilitator with Girls Inc. of Upper Canada.

“We aren’t able to run any of our car washes or BBQs or anything else that we would do out in the community at this time to raise funds,” Feen said on Thursday.

“Girls that we normally would have seen through summer camp, due to COVID we haven’t been able to reach or they haven’t been able to come in and do programming."

Cue Jeannette Johnston of Brockville Women in Business, an organization that has supported Girls Inc. And the Leeds and Grenville Interval House for 10 years.

“We wanted to create something fun for our charities to raise more money for them in 2020 and also to support the shop local movement,” Johnston said.

“Their giving's are down. There just hasn’t been as much activity and there hasn’t been as many events so we’d certainly like to support them and give them all that we can.”

So, what the organization came up with was a unique plan to boost donations to both charities as well as supporting local businesses in Brockville

It works by registering as a purchaser or business on the Brockville Woman in Business website, where sales and purchases are tracked and then a small percentage of those sales go towards the charities.

“There’s just under 10 of us involved in the contest, so we’re looking for more people to register for the event both businesses and what we call purchasers who are just general people in the public who want to take part and promote businesses and support businesses,” said Johnston.

Businesses that have already registered say the reaction has been great.

“We are selling date-squares and scones on a daily basis. A dollar from each one sold goes towards the fundraiser - I’ve sold 48 in the last week, so $48 so far,” said Jennifer Mills from Sweet Life Cafe Downtown.

“Just to help out the organizations, we decided we could do something to help them out. It’s been great."

Brenda Van Dusen is an independent scentsy consultant and has also joined the campaign.

“Part of scentsy's core value is generosity, so it's always good to help out when you can and this is a way I can do that,” van Dusen said.

“The more you buy, I’m doing full commission, so once it hits a certain point I’ll add an additional five per cent to the charities,” van Dusen said.

“Leeds & Grenville Interval House and Girls Inc. are both very worthy charities!”

Johnston adds, “this was our way of contributing to the movement because we do truely believe in shop local and supporting small business as small business is the backbone of our community.”

And both charities were excited as well.

“They were really pleased that we kind of took this initiative and wanted to help them out. I think they are just really appreciative that we didn’t forget them,” smiled Johnston

“It is not only getting people to support our two local charities but they are also getting people out to our small local stores and getting them to up their profits also,” said Fenn.

“The charities win and the small businesses in the community win.”=

The campaign runs until August 30, and it is easy to register on the Brockville Women in Business website under the events section.