Oak Bay Kiwanis expects to see a donation sprout into a 2,000-square-foot greenhouse by fall.
Last weekend, president Kristina Ewing offered her President’s Project donation of $5,000 to Woodwynn Farms in Central Saanich.
“I am a big believer that the club’s money and service to the community should be impactful,” Ewing said. “In October, I drove students involved in UVic CKI, a collegiate service club sponsored by Victoria Kiwanis, to Woodwynn Farms so that they could volunteer at the farm.”
She was impressed by how the farm project pulls people off the street, gets them clean, rehabilitates them and helps them become sober, functioning members of society.
“This was October so the tent city was still going on or just ending, and the province is spending all this money on housing and I work right downtown and have interactions with the homeless population on a regular basis,” Ewing said. “It’s just really well thought out and it’s inclusive, whatever your faith is; wherever you’re from.”
Impressed with the organization, she asked Richard Leblanc, founder and executive director, later if he had “wish list” items for potential donation.
“I didn’t want it to go to overhead. I wanted it to be something that would make a difference to as many people as possible,” Ewing said.
“We as a club have been really concentrating on that, that all of our money is impactful.”
Woodwynn was looking to get a greenhouse for year-round seed starts.
“I thought it was a perfect fit for us,” Ewing said. “It was impactful giving that would continue to give back to the community and the participants for years to come,” Ewing said.
Woodwynn Farms is grateful for the “capacity-building” support, Leblanc said.
“A greenhouse on our therapeutic community farm for the homeless provides yet another learning venue for participants to be involved in growing their own food,” Leblanc said. “Further, a greenhouse extends our growing season substantially, sometimes year-round, giving us added volume to feed ourselves and sell products in our own market.”