Gardeners produce big donations for Calvin Township

The Calvin Women’s Association has been giving back to its community in a big way. This past Thursday, the group donated $4,700 to the Calvin Firefighter’s Association, and that money will help purchase equipment and tools for the department. The group also recently donated $4,000 to the Mattawa Legion to help with the work they do for the region.

“The Women’s Association has been together for just over three years,” explained one of the group’s founders, Sandy Cross. “And we have been fundraising for the community,” since the group formed.

A spaghetti dinner held before COVID was a big hit, and raised a lot of funds, around $3,000, but the group’s most powerful fundraising tool comes from the backyard garden – vegetables.

“The majority of the money that we raised was from selling vegetables,” Cross said, and all of that produce comes from members' personal gardens. They grow different crops all summer long and sell them as they are ready to harvest.

Those backyard gardens are having a big impact. Not only are the funds raised going to great causes, but the summer sales of the produce help people throughout the year, as all sales are based on a ‘pay what you can’ basis, which helps out those who could use a break on their fresh vegetables.

Volunteers in the group grow the food and they have two points of distribution, small stands along Cross’ and Lucy Graham’s driveways. Graham’s driveway is along Highway 630, which catches a lot of traffic and customers.

At the end of each week, the group donates what’s left over to the local food bank.

“We just wanted to give back to our community,” Cross said, “and to the people that supported us.” On that note, Calvin’s Women's Association also gave a donation to the local church “because they do a lot of community outreach in Calvin.”

Group members have been selling vegetables for three summers now, and along the way, they have made some other donations to the community. They donated tote bags filled with essentials, such as toiletries, to the Fire Department, so firefighters could give them out to people affected by fires. They also donated a $1,000 fund to help with hotel costs if – heaven forbid — a person’s house burns down.

“Hopefully that money can sit there forever in waiting,” she said.

The giving never stops for the Calvin Women’s Association, as the funds come in, they go back to the community. As for the donation to the Fire Department, that one hit close to home, “because it is part of the heart of Calvin,” Cross said.

Odds are high as a corn stalk in August that Association members will be growing again next summer, and the vegetables will produce more good things throughout Calvin Township.

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,