A local fundraising group which normally helps schools, sports teams and community groups raise money through plant sales has shifted its focus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Growing Smiles Fundraising is holding several community plant sales in B.C. throughout the month of May, including one in Chilliwack, all while supporting local food banks and other community groups.
“You can purchase a gift for someone you know that is feeling lonely or send some succulents to a long-term care facility that is no longer allowing visitors,” said Jessica Girard of Growing Smiles Fundraising. “We could all use a little support right now.”
How it works is folks go online and order plants like hanging baskets, assorted herbs and geraniums. Ten per cent of the sale goes to the local food bank or community group of your choice. Plants are then picked up at a later date during a certain time slot at a central location using a no-contact, drive-through system.
They have been offering fundraisers for more than 15 years – selling flowers, annuals, herbs and veggies in the spring; as well as poinsettias and greenery in the winter. Groups buy the plants at wholesale costs and sell them to friends and family for a profit. Funds raised usually contribute to PACs, playgrounds, sports trips, grad ceremonies, dance tuitions, specialized surgeries and more.
Typically, the groups run the fundraisers themselves. However, with school closures, event cancellations and uncertainty caused by COVID-19, many of them had to cancel their annual spring fundraisers, so Growing Smiles Fundraising decided to create this new community plant sale fundraisers instead.
The community plant sale allows people to buy plants safely all while helping support the community. Additionally, greenhouses will avoid composting thousands of veggies, herbs, annuals and hanging baskets.
“It’s really uplifting to see the number of people choosing to give back to their local food bank and support the most vulnerable people in these times,” Girard said.
Here in Chilliwack, orders need to be placed by 10 p.m. on Friday, May 8. Pickup is on Saturday, May 16. Location and time TBD.
Growing Smiles Fundraising also has community plant sales scheduled in Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford. To order plants or for more info on all of the sales, go to growingsmilesfundraising.com/communityfundraisers.