Penny Barton Dyke, the executive Director of the United Way for the City of Kawartha Lakes, and Mike Soehner, from Crayola Canada, presented to Council on March 19 their joint plan to combat hunger in CKL.
The United Way has been involved in the Poverty Reduction Strategy for the area since its inception. One of the key focuses of that strategy is how to improve food insecurity and food literacy for many at-risk people in CKL.
The United Way has already built 120 community garden plots across the City. Food not harvested by the users of the plots is shared by local food banks, a Place Called Home, and a couple of local Legions who are involved in their home communities’ efforts to improve food insecurity.
Crayola has been a partner with the United Way for the last thirty years, and the annual Crayola Arts and Crafts Sale has netted the United Way over $1 million since its inception.
It was announced at Council that the relationship between the two organizations is about to get even closer with the opening of the Edwin Binney Community Garden on the property of the Crayola plant on Mary Street in Lindsay. The garden plot will be the biggest of its kind in CKL, measuring over 30,000 square feet.
This project has been three years in the planning, and the produce grown at this garden will provide fresh food for the Meals on Wheels and School Nutrition programs right across the City.
The garden will have its official grand opening on June 9. Funding for this garden has come from many different sources including the Lindsay CHEST fund and the Trillium Foundation. $50,000 of the $80,000 in upfront costs for the garden have already been covered, and Dyke seemed confident that the outstanding amount would be taken care of by the United Way very soon.
Mayor Letham and Councillor O’Reilly were effusive in their praise of the work done by the United Way and the corporate conscience show by Crayola over all these years.