Town and Country Garden Club donates $500 each to Dowagiac nonprofits

Published 10:25 am Wednesday, January 26, 2022

DOWAGIAC — After years of receiving financial support from the community for projects, one local organization decided to give back with the largest donation in its history.

Thanks to the increased success of its yearly fundraisers, the Dowagiac Town and Country Garden Club donated $500 each to ACTION Ministries and Hidden Acres Safe Haven last Friday afternoon at the ACTION Ministries building, 301 Main St.

Club president Cathy Daniels said the yearly plant sale and participation in a fall craft show saw more interest than usual, and the club members decided to give to nonprofits that could benefit from their support.

“This is the first year we’ve been able to do this much,” Daniels said. “We kind of had to brainstorm groups in the area that we knew that were community-oriented. So, based on need and the benefits they provided to the community, we made some choices.”

ACTION Ministries is a nonprofit that hosts a food pantry, senior commodities distribution, transitional housing and emergency food assistance services. Hidden Acres Safe Haven, the nonprofit created by Hidden Acres Petting Farm, 50582 Pleasant St., Dowagiac, provides homes to unwanted livestock animals or other farm animals who were born with disabilities, among other animal-related services.

The garden club, which was founded in 1952, has done work that can be seen all over Dowagiac. Projects the club are involved in include the Blue Star Memorial at Riverside Cemetery and the large pots downtown. The summer flower plantings are funded by the city of Dowagiac, while the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce provides funds for the fall mums.

“When we’re doing the planters, we’ll have so many people come by us and say, ‘those are looking really good. Thank you for all of the efforts. You really do a lot for this community,” Daniels said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

In all, the group arranges 39 planters across the city and works with Matt Stack at the city’s Department of Public Works.

“Matt has been a really big help to us, as far as having the pots ready and cleaned out between the change-ups that we do and irrigation for some of the areas that need it,” said Daniels, adding that Stack will also be helping with a new project the group has taken on at the intersection of Front and Main, where the WWI memorial is located. “The city will help financially with that project, and we will provide the ‘lady power.’”

Daniels said the club’s membership increased to 27 members this year, but she is always looking for new members with any amount of gardening experience.

“We’ve covered the gamut from beginners that want to get into gardening to people that have been master gardeners,” Daniels said. “There’s a lot of knowledge in the group.”

According to Daniels, the group meets every second Thursday of the month from April through December, primarily in the community center room of the Van Buren Cass District Health Department, 302 Front St. Meetings range from having guest speakers to exchanging seeds with other members, as well as the occasional field trip. The group’s first meeting is April 14.

For more information on the Town and Country Garden Club, visit the group’s Facebook page.