The Donut Monster is a Kind One - A Crummy Weekend Meets a Compassionate Response

by: Joshua Voth

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On the evening of Saturday, March 3rd, a mob dressed in black walks down Locke Street. They vandalize vehicles lining the street and businesses too, throwing rocks at storefront windows. A woman driving down Locke street is so fearful she has to stop driving.

This group of cowardly anarchist mobsters, walking incognito and wreaking havoc down Hamilton’s Locke Street and Aberdeen Avenue, calls themselves “The Ungovernables.”

One of the storefronts to receive a rock through its window was Donut Monster, a gourmet donut shop which opened its doors earlier this year. The business experienced setbacks regarding the launch date of its new store, but with hard work and dedication they had finally made it — only to have their business trashed just two months after opening. The owners of the small business, Reuben and Heidi Vanderkwaak, had just returned from a much-deserved vacation, and we can only assume this is not what they expected or wanted to come back to.

Many Hamiltonians are upset and angry at such an act of terror and violence. Small business owners work hard to make their livings, and the cost of damage for this destructive violence has been estimated at around $100,000, a steep price.

Although Saturday night had Locke Street full of fear and panic, Sunday was quite a different story. Many residents of Locke Street as well as those living in the Hamilton region came out to show love and support. Pedestrians walking the streets left notes of love and support on the sheets of plywood put up in the broken windows of Donut Monster.

The damage done Saturday night did not keep the public away, and customers were greeted with a very shocking move made by Donut Monster. Serving a variety of different donuts every single day to its customers, Donut Monster had taken the famous “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” aphorism to heart, creating a beautiful, delicious, and humorous new donut as a response to the angry and violent acts of the night before.

An official tweet from Donut Monster reads, When life gives you lemons, try our 'Make Lemonade' donut! This donut has a lemonade glaze and glass-like shards of lemon candy by @sweetandsimpleco AND all of the proceeds will be donated to @IndwellCA in support of affordable housing initiatives!” Without batting a single eyelash, Donut Monster had turned this evil into good.

When Reuben Vanderkwaak, owner of Donut Monster, was asked about this message of positivity and love, he responded saying, “We wanted to stay positive with our reaction, and I think that helped other people stay positive with their reaction.”

It’s responses like these that show Christ’s love and His gospel of care and compassion. Opportunities to practice this love are always just around the corner, as demonstrated by the owners and staff of Donut Monster in response to the ugly events of vandalism of which they were a target.

From its humble beginnings at The Kitchen Collective, a non-profit shared, commercial kitchen cooperative, Donut Monster quickly began to outgrow its production space and needed a larger place from which to make and sell its wonderful donuts. With plans to upscale, the Donut Monster team took to the world wide web, raising money through a crowd-funding campaign website called Kickstarter. They aimed at raising $25,000 in order to get the funding to acquire their own building. The Kickstarter page read, “We’ve grown too big for our current britches and we want to make our donuts a little easier to find — and it is now time to do just that!”

Donut Monster eventually raised an astounding $32,086 through their Kickstarter campaign, backed by more than seven hundred people. Although some setbacks were encountered as the team renovated their newly acquired space, pushing back the originally intended opening date, the day finally came when they could open their doors and flood Locke Street with the delicious scent of fresh donuts.

With a space of their own, Donut Monster is now open seven days a week and is able to provide donuts to all of their customers. Donut Monster makes it a priority to source local ingredients, use fresh fruits when in season, and have vegan-friendly products available.

Their donuts often sell out mid-afternoon as the place is always packed, full of people enjoying fresh donuts and hot coffee and espresso drinks (brewed from locally roasted Detour coffee beans).Even our own Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was recently able to stop by to enjoy a sweet treat.

Please consider purchasing a donut (or six!) to show this growing small business some love and support.

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