Nola

KCR: Volunteers feed those in need

These columns are contributed by the KCR Community Resources

Gordon and Helen Ziglar tended their farm for almost 40 years and then when it was time to stop, they sought a way to have their land help underserved people in the community, especially women and youth.

They looked for options and carefully chose the TBC Legacy Foundation as the organization that would help them achieve their dreams.

In 2015 they gifted their farm and its assets to the TBC Legacy Foundation to create Helen’s Acres – a community garden that through the power of volunteers feeds those in need.

“The Ziglars’ dream was to have the farm operate for food security in Kelowna, and that is what we are doing,” explained Nola Warnica, community manager of the Helen’s Acres.

“Our mission is to connect our community, educate them on growing practices and feed those in need.

“Everything we grow and harvest we give away to the Central Okanagan Food Bank and other Community partners, like the Family Hub (a program of KCR Community Resources) who distribute our produce.

“Our community partners receive ‘first fruits’ of our harvest, meaning everything harvested goes fresh, ripe and nutritious directly to those in need.”

The farm also offers dedicated space to growing partners like Food for Thought, JCI Farm Project, Mamas for Mamas and Okanagan Tree Fruit Project.

These organizations manage the assigned plots through their own teams, volunteers and networks.

“Our volunteers have a heart for others,” continued Nola.

“Gardening is not an easy task for everyone, but the reward of knowing that you are contributing to feeding families who just need a little extra help, is so worth it! The scenery of working outdoors in the sunny Okanagan with mountains in the background doesn’t hurt either.”

Most of the volunteers come help between April and October, when it is planting and harvesting time. Saturdays are always busy with volunteers, but there are also other mornings added throughout the summer as required.

The opportunity to help at the farm is a great choice for groups who like to come together to volunteer.

“We were fortunate to have a group of middle years students with us for two months, working in the fields. One of the young ladies said, ‘Boy it sure makes me feel good knowing I am helping others,’” sharedNola. “It was so heartfelt and in a time in our world where so many people are struggling, to have such a young person recognize the need to help others was amazing.

“We could not operate without our volunteers. The scope of planting and harvesting done on the farm needs many hands and it would not be possible without the dedication of those who come on a weekly basis to help.

“These volunteers make an impact by caring for those in our community.”

Signing up to help is easy: they have a monthly schedule right on the website www.helensacres.com/volunteer or you cab find out more on the VolunteerConnector. You can also learn more about what is happening at the farm by subscribing to the monthly newsletter by emailing communications@helensacres.com.

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.

CommmunityKelowna

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