The United Way in action: fall community garden cleanup

York University staff and students recently had an opportunity to see the United Way in action. They were participants in the United Way’s annual Day of Caring event which took place on Tuesday, Nov. 21, at the community gardens at Chalkfarm near Jane and Wilson.

 Above: The Chalkfarm Community Garden near Jane and Wilson

The event brought together a team of motivated people from York Facilities Services, Security Services, the University’s Community Relations Office and students from the Atkinson’s Student & Alumni Relations Unit TEAM program as well as student volunteers from York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies. They worked in partnership with the Doorsteps Neighbourhood Service, a United Way agency, to revitalize the gardens.

“To see the York community working alongside a community agency and local residents was exciting and moving. We had a great day and got a lot accomplished,” said Sue Levesque, community relations officer and organizer of the Day of Caring Event. “I know the staff at Doorsteps were very excited by the work we managed to get done and the staff and students from York enjoyed the day outside and the opportunity to support the community.

Above: York’s Day of Caring team relaxes after a day of work in the Chalkfarm
Community Garden 

Doorsteps Neighbourhood Services is one of 200 United Way agencies in the Greater Toronto Area. A community development organization, Doorsteps focuses on education and the enhancement of resiliency for individuals and the community. Several of Doorsteps programs work with local residents to sustain the garden plots.

Left: Working hard in the garden

“While the space to garden is abundant, the gardens themselves haven’t been utilized to their full capacity,” said Levesque. “It was the goal of this Days of Caring event to get the gardens into shape so that the local residents interested in working in the garden would have a more inviting space in which to do their work.

“The day was an enormous success,” said Levesque. “We were able to clear the garden plots of litter, till and turn the soil and add mulch.

“Both gardens look inviting and ready for further work in the spring,” said Levesque. “We’re also hoping to maintain our relationship with Doorsteps through ongoing collaboration with these gardens.”

It is still not too late to send in a pledge card and make a donation to York’s 2006 United Way Campaign. To obtain a pledge card, contact York’s United Way Campaign co-chairs Danielle Chateau at ext. 55597 or Sue Levesque at ext. 77529. Pledge cards for the 2006 campaign will be accepted until Jan. 12, 2007.

Click here to learn more about the United Way Day of Caring event.