Seed Ladies Spring Into Summer!
We’ve almost made it to summer vacation and none too soon! Everyone is chomping at the bit to get out in the sunshine and be free of the school routine. Before we get ready to hit the beach and prepare for summer travelling, we wanted to connect with each of you and especially thank everyone for their continued support of our work so far this year. We couldn't have completed our various projects without your enthusiasm and generous donations.
One of the most important aspects of Seed Ladies that has evolved this year is our budding partnership with the Mustard Seed Food Bank. When we originally began planning our fundraisers in 2011, we were collecting items generated by our own ideas of what we thought might be needed. Now, however, we work in direct consultation with the Mustard Seed basing our fundraising events around specific requests, such as the Bunny Bags at Easter and our most recent event, Seed Ladies Night Out, where we collected birthday party supplies. Both fundraisers were enormously successful - over 300 Bunny Bags for children living in poverty and 12 grocery bags of birthday supplies - with overwhelming appreciation from the staff at the Mustard Seed. See Village365 for an article and pictures of our last Seed Ladies Night Out.
Recently, we were asked by staff at the Mustard Seed to help generate donations of peanut butter. This valuable source of protein has gone up in price such that the Mustard Seed is hard pressed to provide it to the individual working poor who rely on peanut butter sandwiches for a healthy lunch and families who use it as a main source of protein for growing children. Starting in the fall, we will be collecting jars of peanut butter, with a goal of 250 jars by our next Seed Ladies Night Out in October, at which time we will celebrate the final tally of jars. We sincerely hope that you will be able to join us in the fun of collection AND celebration.
Interested in enjoying fresh and local food while helping to support vulnerable people in the community who are working hard to get back on their feet? The Mustard Seed is now offering whole and half chickens and sausages, along with fresh produce, from their Hope Farm Healing Centre, a 32-acre farm and addictions recovery centre. You can view details on their delicious products and how to order by going to the Hope Farm - Chicken and Produce page on our website.
Our work relies not only on your goodwill and generosity but also on your communication efforts. We hope that you will continue to share what we are doing with family and friends. Together, we can make a real difference in the lives of individuals and families who are mired in the crisis of poverty.
In the meantime, we wish everyone a safe and happy summer!
As we prepare to enjoy Easter celebrations with family and friends, we would like to take this opportunity to update you on our activities so far this year.
Back in February we began a project to benefit families who frequent the Mustard Seed Food Bank, calling it Bunny Bags for Children in Need. After consultation with staff at the Mustard Seed, we determined that each bag would contain a stuffy and some Easter chocolates and be handed out to families with children age 10 and under, along with their food hampers, the week before Easter. We decided to package the goodies in brown paper bags so that parents could keep the items a surprise and have the option of putting them out on Easter morning as a gift from the Easter Bunny.
Based on the high volume of children being served at the food bank, we committed to a goal of 300 Bunny Bags. From February to March we collected, sorted and packaged an amazing amount of chocolates and stuffies, along with a new toothbrush for every bag. Due to the extraordinary generosity of parents at Glenlyon Norfolk School, Rogers Chocolates, which donated 100 individual bags of candies, Dr. Cheryl Handley, a local dentist and GNS parent who donated 300 toothbrushes, Crescendo for Hair and parents from Ross Bay and Emmanuel Preschools, along with many others, we managed to surpass our original goal of 300 Bunny Bags.
You can read more about the project in Shannon's blog on the Seed Ladies website and in a recent news article.
Seed Ladies Night Out - Our next pub night at the Penny Farthing (patio) on Oak Bay Avenue is on Thursday, May 17 at 7:30 pm. We hope you will join us for an evening of great company and conversation as we collect birthday supplies to benefit the children at the Mustard Seed Food Bank. Donations of birthday candles, cake mixes, icing, balloons, colouring books and crayons will be most appreciated. The amazing staff at the Mustard Seed put together birthday packages for children whose parents would otherwise be unable to host these "luxury" celebrations but they can't do it without our generous donations.
Buckets, Shovels and Rakes, Oh My! - Near the end of May, we will be canvassing for donations of beach toys, i.e. plastic buckets, shovels, rakes etc. to be handed out to children at the Mustard Seed before Summer vacation begins. So, don't recycle those old beach toys: they can be used by children whose parents wouldn't otherwise be able to provide the tools for beach outings...an otherwise free activity.
We welcome your suggestions or ideas regarding fundraising projects that can benefit the children and families at the Mustard Seed Food Bank. You can e-mail us at: email@example.com.
Warmest wishes for a joyous Easter celebration,
Shannon Phillips & Meghan Bowes
~ Sowing the Seeds of Compassion ~
Happy Holidays from Seed Ladies!
This is our first official newsletter, in which we’d like to share with you what we have managed to accomplish in the last two months, with the help of many generous individuals, families and organizations.
Since being profiled in the news in October this year, we decided to expand our horizons, creating a website, Facebook site and starting a Christmas Hamper program to build food and gift hampers for the Mustard Seed Food Bank and the Victoria Women’s Transition House. Click here to go to our donor page on the Seed Ladies website, where you can see a list and some photographs of the generous donors and volunteers. It was amazing to feel the support of so many in the community who came forward to help families in need during the holidays.
We also helped serve the hundreds of people who showed up for the Mustard Seed Christmas Dinner in November. You can read all about it in Shannon’s blog. In addition, mark your calendars for our next Seed Ladies Night Out at the Penny Farthing Pub on January 26, 2012. You can RSVP on our website or Facebook.
As we wind down for the season, we are now pausing to reflect on all that we have learned in the last two months. The need in our city is growing daily. The number of children and families that are living below the poverty line is expanding constantly. There is no easy solution to this problem, but awareness of it is the first step. Our wish for 2012 is to continue to reach people who want to help but don’t know how, to assist others in understanding that anyone - me, you, a family member or a friend - could end up in trouble just like the people who frequent the Mustard Seed. We must pull together as a community and do what we can to help. Most of all, we feel the gratitude in our hearts for all that we have this season, our families, our children and our friendships.
May your holidays be filled with joy, laughter and love and may the new year bring with it prosperity and health.
The Seed Ladies
Shannon Phillips & Meghan Bowes