November Hero of HEFC - Ted Thexton
by Lynn Sherwood
On September 29, a sunny autumn afternoon, the congregation of Riverside United Church came together to dedicate a wonderful garden in memory of one of their most beloved members, Ted Thexton, who passed away in late 2018 at the age of 82.
Ted was a very special member of this church, filling the role, variously, as Chair of the Congregation, Treasurer, and Chair of Sessions, as well as helping to maintain the church building itself and participating in all church activities. Mary Shaw of the HEFC board, remembers her astonishment at seeing him on the roof, at age 80, checking out the condition of the shingles. Ted was a patient and kindly person with a talent for resolving differences and creating harmony within the congregation.
His memorial is a fitting tribute, a vegetable garden built and maintained by the congregation for the benefit of the entire Ottawa South community. Potatoes, tomatoes, beets, green onions, and carrots grew in the loving soil of this garden so bountifully that there was enough harvest for 16 weeks this past summer, to share not only with clients of HEFC but also with Centre 504 and The Pavilion Food Bank.
When I asked Mary how many people were involved in this project, she was unable to give me an exact number - because nearly everyone in the congregation took part. One group, she explained, built raised gardens alongside the church - they planned for six garden plots, but had enough lumber for eight, so actually built two more. Other volunteers transported the earth and filled the raised gardens, a third group planted the vegetables, and then all summer two volunteers each week took turns to water the gardens. Finally, another group of volunteers harvested the crop and transported fresh grown vegetables to HEFC for 16 consecutive weeks. There is surely a no more fitting memorial to a life well lived than creating a memory garden which sustains the lives of the next generation.
Fresh produce is very much a luxury for most of the folks who come to HEFC and is much appreciated by all. Cramped high rise apartments are not conducive to gardening. Fresh vegetable are an essential component of a nutritious diet but are also relatively expensive and may often become real treats for families on a restricted income. The basic ‘package’ supplied by HEFC, 3 days of food, once a month, includes items such as tuna, pasta, margarine, chickpeas, all items which will fill empty stomachs and are easy to store for extended periods. Storage of fresh produce at our facility for more than a day or so is simply not possible, so we are able to provide only potatoes, carrots, onions, and apples or bananas on a regular basis.
Garden fresh produce donated on a weekly basis through such thoughtful endeavors as the Memorial Garden at Riverside United not only provide nutrition for our bodies, but nourishment for the spirits of those who receive the food, knowing someone cared enough to plant, water, weed and harvest for them. \
Additionally, sharing in this work nourishes the spirits of those who collaborate in the creation of sustained memory of a loved one who has passed on. We at HEFC thank the congregation of Riverside United for their thoughtful and practical tribute to a long-time member of their congregation.
As the holiday season approaches many organizations plan to make donations to HEFC as part of their annual giving. Members of the Board of HEFC are happy to attend your holiday event or fundraiser to talk about the service we, all together, provide for our community. Call us at 613 737-9090 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Heron Emergency Food Centre is located at 1480 Heron Road and is open 4 days a week to provide emergency food to people in need in Ottawa South.
NOVEMBER WISH LIST
We welcome cash and food donations including tuna, soup, chickpeas, kidney beans, canned vegetables, pasta and pasta sauce .