A volunteer from the Crescent Park Community Garden shows off some of the produce grown for, and donated to, Alex House’s Emergency Food Support Project. (Contributed photo)

A volunteer from the Crescent Park Community Garden shows off some of the produce grown for, and donated to, Alex House’s Emergency Food Support Project. (Contributed photo)

ALEX HOUSE: Finding opportunities within the challenges

‘SOX BOX’ project provides free weekly box deliveries of fresh local food

A year into the public health emergency, and with the advent of a vaccination program, now is a good time to reflect on the new and changing needs of our community – as well as the creative and innovative ways folks have stepped up to support neighbours.

For Alexandra Neighbourhood House, strengthening local food security and creating opportunities to spend time outdoors and connect with nature are two ways we are responding as we move into spring.

COVID-19 hit just as our two community gardens were moving into a new season. With safety modifications, we opened Alexandra and Crescent Park Community Gardens for a new season, creating a space for folks to learn about organic gardening and grow produce. Ten plots, along with beds at Camp Alex, were set aside for our ‘SOX BOX’ emergency food hamper project.

Volunteers adopted these plots, and the food harvested was taken to Camp Alex for distribution.

The ‘SOX BOX’ project provides free weekly box deliveries of fresh local food to seniors, youth and families most affected by the ongoing pandemic.

The hampers contain food donated by local grocers, supplemented by fresh produce donated by our community gardeners.

Funded by the United Way, and supported by several volunteers, every week the project distributes in excess of 30 boxes, supporting over 100 residents.

And a year on, we are excited to announce that applications for plots in Alexandra and Crescent Park Community Gardens are open until March 15.

Gardening is a great opportunity to be outside and active, to connect with neighbours sharing a similar passion, learn about best practices from one of our certified master gardeners, and – of course – grow your own fruits and veggies.

Gardening is also an opportunity to support the ‘SOX BOX’ project and their community by tending to the plots set aside for the program. Find out more at www.alexhouse.net/community-gardens

Another program that was affected by the pandemic was our Neighbourhood Small Grants.

How can community be brought together during a time of isolation? Funded by the Vancouver Foundation, project leaders around the Lower Mainland found creative and successful ways of connecting folks through online classes, food drives and providing communication technology for low-income seniors.

We’re doing it again this year – this time with two cycles in the spring and fall.

The spring 2021 Neighbourhood Small Grant cycle is open until April 20. Grants of up to $500 support the creative initiative of ordinary folks wanting to create connections and enrich individual lives.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, our last cycle saw amazing activities created, which helped to build community, strengthen resilience, foster creativity and well-being, and relieve feelings of loneliness and isolation.

I’m looking forward to seeing where imagination will lead this year. For more information and to apply, visit www.neighbourhoodsmallgrants.ca.

Neil Fernyhough is manager of Alexandra Neighbourhood House’s community programs. For information on programs/services at Camp Alexandra, call 604-535-0015 or go to www.alexhouse.net

Columngardening

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

neil fernyhough

Just Posted

Shannon Claypool, president of the Cloverdale Rodeo & Exhibition Association, stands outside the Cloverdale Rec. Centre. The rec. centre has been set up as a mass vaccination site by Fraser Health and the Association has decided to cancel the rodeo in order to offer the fairgrounds for public parking. (Submitted)
Cloverdale Rodeo cancelled

Fairgrounds to be used as public parking for mass vaccination site at Cloverdale Rec. Centre

Surrey city council chambers. (File photo)
Surrey drugstores seeking relaxation of spacing rules ‘a challenge,’ councillor says

‘Obviously we need pharmacies but it seems to me that we are getting an awful lot of applications,’ Brenda Locke says

News Bulletin file photo
Surrey waives outdoor patio fees for pubs, restaurants

Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, praised the move

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media file)
Man charged after pushing pregnant woman to the ground in Surrey, police say

Surrey RCMP say it appeared to be an ‘unprovoked assault’

A sign posted to a tree in Maccaud Park urges people to email White Rock City Council and oppose the construction of pickleball courts in the park. (Contributed photo)
White Rock council deems Maccaud Park pickleball courts out of bounds

Unanimous vote against constructing courts follows public feedback

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 2, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. NDP ministers defend ‘air tax,’ latest COVID-19 business aid

Empty home tax doesn’t apply to businesses, but space above them

In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been set up at local mosques. (Submitted photo: Rufaida Mohammed)
Getting the vaccine does not break your fast, says Muslim COVID-19 task force

Muslim community ‘strongly’ encouraging people to get their shot, whether or not during Ramadan

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A plane is seen through the window on the tarmac of Vancouver International Airport as the waiting room is empty. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
100+ international travellers who landed in B.C. refused to quarantine

The Public Health Agency of Canada says it issued $3,000 violation tickets to each

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PHAC receives first report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

The federal agency says the person is now recovering at home

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward
1 in 3 young Canadians have given up on owning a home: poll

Data released Monday says 36% of adults younger than 40 have given up on home ownership entirely

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. urges people to stay in their neighbourhoods, discourages out-of-household meet-ups

Dr. Bonnie Henry says there should be no travel, even to the next city over

Looking east at the Cascade Range with the potential Alpine Village site in the foreground. Mt. Archibald rises on the left.
Ambitious all-season mountain resort proposed near Chilliwack

Proponents say Bridal Veil Mountain Resort could cover 11,500 acres bring in $252 million a year

Most Read