Sunnyside Nursery collects for Marysville Community Food Bank

MARYSVILLE — The staff members of the Sunnyside Nursery were able to thank their customers and support their local food bank at the same time on Oct. 1, with a flurry of activities that drew crowds and donations in spite of the day’s dreary weather.

Sunnyside’s “Customer Appreciation Day” offered free barbecue hot dog lunches, face- and pumpkin-painting for kids, and a raffle for prizes ranging from gift certificates to gardening goods. It also marked the final day of their two-week “Cans for Cams” food drive for the Marysville Community Food Bank, through which those who dropped off non-perishable items could enter to win a “Plant Cam,” a weather-proof, time-lapse digital camera.

“You know those time-lapse films you used to watch in school of plants growing?” Steve Smith, “The Whistling Gardner” and owner of the Sunnyside Nursery, asked those in attendance for the final raffle drawing of the day. “Well, this is just like that, except you can use it at home.”

Sunnyside has already set aside a plot of land just across the street from its store for Marysville high school students to grow their own “Giving Gardens” to supply the Marysville Community Food Bank. According to Sunnyside staff member Melissa Volk, “Cans for Cams” is the second full-fledged food drive in support of the food bank conducted by Sunnyside itself this year, with the first one running from February through March.

“The students harvested 1,040 pounds from their garden as of yesterday,” Volk said on Saturday, Oct. 1. “Their goal for the year is 2,000 pounds. As for us, we filled up two 40-gallon red collection barrels with non-perishables, and even received a donation of $10, even though we weren’t asking for money.”

Sunnyside never bothered to put away their collection barrels from this spring’s food drive, so they’ve steadily received donations of food ever since, but the bulk of their donations for this fall’s food drive came in on its final Saturday.

“Our focus for today was on customer appreciation, so we didn’t want to make our patrons feel obligated to donate just because they were here,” Volk said. “Even so, a lot of people brought in entire bags of food. It’s clearly a good idea to pair up two events that each would get people coming in on their own.”

“Collecting for the food bank is our civic duty,” Smith said. “It’s our responsibility to help the less fortunate. I’ve spent my life growing things. It’s a very nurturing process. When you grow things that you can eat, the natural tendency is to want to share them. As a kid, I remember going fishing with my dad, coming back, cleaning and filleting all those fish, and sharing them with all our neighbors. There’s a pleasure in sharing, and it’s the right thing to do. It’s just that simple.”


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