Barb Carpenter

KCR: Volunteer gardeners needed for food program

KCR Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Volunteering gives people an opportunity to discover and share their talents in unique ways. For anyone wanting to develop a green thumb and help fight child hunger at the same time, Food for Thought, a program of Hope for the Nations, has the perfect opportunity starting now.

“We are in need of about 15 Volunteers for our unique raised garden project in Kelowna, located at Helen’s Acres at the end of Mayer Road,” says Cheryl Hoffman, Food for Thought coordinator. “This unique garden is located at Helen’s Acres and was built by volunteers to address food security concerns amplified during the pandemic.”

Volunteer gardeners plant, grow and tend the 11,000 square foot garden of all raised beds and grow food that is used for the program’s Starfish Backpack Program as well as flowers that are sold with the revenue used to purchase additional food products that are critical to addressing childhood hunger in the Central Okanagan. The garden is wheelchair accessible and easy for seniors and others to tend.

“Most people are surprised to realize that there are children going hungry right here in the Central Okanagan. That children have come to school on a Monday morning not having eaten anything all weekend,” explains Cheryl. “Food for Thought has dedicated volunteers to assist in serving a Breakfast Program and a Backpack Program to some of the 5900 children in need of food security in the Central Okanagan.”

Food for Thought is under the umbrella of Hope for the Nations, a charity started 28 years ago in Kelowna to assist and empower the global community to bring about change and opportunity for children and families affected by poverty and food insecurity.

“Many people don’t realize that Hope for the Nations is a small charity doing BIG things right here in British Columbia and around the world, helping children in over 19 countries,” adds Cheryl. “Food for Thought is the local program and we could not provide food security for the Central Okanagan children without our volunteers. They have a heart for children and like the idea of making a difference.”

“Our volunteers believe in the importance of ensuring that all K-12 students have access to healthy food at school to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, to help students be prepared for their learning day, and to develop the skills and literacy needed for a lifetime of healthy eating,” says Cheryl. “Small acts of kindness can really change a child’s life and take them from poverty to possibility!”

“Volunteers commit to 70 – 150 hours per year. It truly takes a village! We have over 60 volunteers involved in our food programs and with the garden construction now complete we need 15 volunteers on a regular basis,” explains Cheryl. “We have a fun garden community that volunteers interact with. It’s a great place to relax, chat, meet new friends and learn about gardening!”

While the group generally meets on Fridays, volunteers are able to work independently on other days as well. To find out more about this opportunity with Food for Thought, go to the VolunteerConnector at www.kcr.ca/volunteer.

Contact info:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/centralokanaganfoodforthought

Instagram: @foodforthoughtcentralokanagan

Dorothee Birker is the communications and development coordinator for KCR Community Resources. If you are interested in sharing your volunteer or organizational news, please contact Dorothee at dorothee@kcr.ca.

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