By Donna McMillan
Little did Meika Matthews know at the beginning of 2020 that she would become a local Covid Crusder, helping Port Dover businesses, the Port Dover Legion Poppy Campaign and, most recently, the Port Dover Harbour Museum through her Dover Rocks Box.
As of last week, $111,273 was earned, with monies going directly into the hands of local businesses such as Urban Parisian, Cottage North Soap, Dover Cheese Shop, Erie Beach Hotel and more. More than thirty businesses altogether were involved. Also included, the local Legion poppy campaign received $2,635 and $2,065 was raised to shine a light on the importance of the Port Dover Harbour Museum in the community.
As part of the Christmas Dover Rocks Box program, Meika told the Maple Leaf that 300 boxes were packed and delivered in time for Christmas. In fact, the 34-year-old finished her last delivery at 5:30 p.m. Christmas Eve.
Those 300 boxes translated into 2030 products bought locally at full retail price, packed in festive bags and delivered, resulting in $38,369 being invested in local businesses.
“It wasn’t a big thing in the beginning,” Meika said. It was March and doors were closing to local businesses as a result of Covid restrictions.
Meika, who grew up in Port Dover, thought subscription boxes could help local businesses. Ryan Duffy, a trusted friend, quickly developed a website through his business Thunder Pig, Meika said. Local artist Michael Barber gave the program its brand. Within six days, they sold 300 boxes.
The campaign continued through Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and special summer offerings before the Christmas launch. Meika’s mom, Anne Matthews, and a handful of friends helped pack bags. Some of the local participating business owners as well as Meika, Anne and Meika’s husband Pete Spencer of Tiller Marine made the deliveries.
Meika, an accountant with CPA Ontario, has always been big on volunteerism in the community. It’s important, she said.
For the Dover Rocks Box project, Meika purchased all retail items on her credit card… sometimes maxing it out, she said. The beautiful wrapping, notes and bows that recipients loved to open were all purchased, she reluctantly shared when asked, at her own expense.
Her last effort as part of the Dover Rocks Box campaign was to light up the Port Dover Harbour Museum. The community had an opportunity to make a donation to the Museum while purchasing their gift box. Meika loaned the 700 feet of lights that she and Pete use on the Loganville for decoration for the annual boat light up night, she said. Clayt Van Sickle with his Boom Truck and Paul Zorad of Zortech Industries made the Museum light up night on December 21 possible, she said.
“Christmas is a bit of a struggle for me,” Meika shared. “But with Rocks Box wrapping up Christmas Eve, there was an abundance of warmth to help carry me through. I am grateful for the outpouring of love from local business owners who found the time in their own bursting schedules to visit me and tell me that I made a difference for them this year. I am also grateful for the many e-mails from folks beyond pleased with their deliveries. That makes me so happy,” she added.
That’s a wrap for Dover Rock Box, Meika said. The program is done.
Many businesses have now established their own online opportunities for their customers, she said. The Dover Rocks Box helped when it was needed.
Originally published January 6, 2021