The United Way’s annual Day of Caring is an experience that goes beyond fundraising, giving volunteers a hands-on connection to the work done by the organization. Over 100 volunteers across Waterloo Region took part in 15 projects aiding United Way-sponsored programs. Money can’t buy everything, and sometimes a project just needs a few extra helping hands to get the job done.
On Friday June 9, some of those hands belonged to a team of University of Waterloo Library staff who gathered at the top of a grassy hill in Cambridge early in the morning, ready to get to work.
Located along the banks of the Grand River in Cambridge, the rare Charitable Research Reserve covers over 900 acres of natural, agricultural and cultural habitats, including: old growth deciduous forests, conifer plantations, cropland, limestone alvars and cliffs, river shorelines, streams and wetlands. Among those, Springbank Farm hosts community and education gardens, as well as the Community Roots Food Bank Garden – which is where our volunteers got their hands dirty.
Grabbing shovels and pitchforks, some staff worked to clear the gardens of weeds, while another group helped get a new potato patch underway; all the resulting produce from these efforts will end up at Waterloo Region food banks.
Library staff pulled weeds, dug trenches, shoveled mulch, and planted a wide variety of seed potatoes, while some younger helpers assisted with removing stones and watering. During shady water breaks, the group learned more about the project from the Springbank Farm staff, a United Way representative, and got a surprise visit from the Cambridge Self Help Food Bank coordinator, shining a light on the impact of the day’s work.
It was a hot day of hard work that ended with a great sense of accomplishment; some staff are looking forward to retuning to see the results of those efforts once the potato vines start to grow.