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May20FriThanks to community support, the Lighthouse Shelter in Oakville, Ont., has opened a space where clients can seek rest. May 20, 2011 by Julia Hosking
After two years of ideas, plans, fundraising and hard work, the appropriately-named Garden of Hope, at The Salvation Army's Lighthouse Shelter in Oakville, Ont., is making its debut bloom this spring.
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- Territorial News
“Our goal is that the Garden of Hope is a place where people can find rest, peace and hope for their lives,” says Major Danny Broome, corps officer, Oakville Community Church, and executive director of the shelter.
The garden started out as an idea for a simple flower bed with flowers planted in memory of several individuals who, over the 10 year history of the Lighthouse, have at one point stayed at the shelter and later passed away.
“Many of those people felt as though they had no hope—some took their own lives,” says Major Broome. “The Lighthouse exists to provide hope to the people who stay there. All of the staff work hard to change people's situations and to light the way to a better life. The garden is just another way to help facilitate that.”
A garden more elaborate than a flower bed started to take shape when the Oakville and Milton District Real Estate Board (OMDREB) joined the effort—and brought with them their landscaper, David Gaze of David Gaze Landscaping Inc.
“When I contacted David to draw up a plan, he immediately said yes,” explains Marta Sponder, executive officer, OMDREB. “At that stage, we were still expecting a modest garden, but the plan he drafted was beyond what we'd imagined.”
To make the draft a reality, members of the OMDREB made donations to the project, totalling over $25,000.
“But the project was much bigger than that,” adds Sponder. “David had products donated, gave his time to the project and got lots of other people involved for the irrigation and lighting aspects of the garden. It was an amazing effort and all of us at the Real Estate Board loved being involved.”
Carol Willems, current director of Lighthouse, who came on board in December last year, says that the facility is pleased to celebrate the lives of those who have come through the Lighthouse.
“The Garden of Hope embodies that celebration,” Willems says. “It is commencing its first spring and summer and we are excited about how it's going to look and how the residents are going to use it.”