Nova Scotia

Glace Bay Food Bank donations pour in after garden vandalized

The Glace Bay Food Bank is getting offers of help both at home and as far away as Toronto and Vancouver to replace vegetables and plants lost when its garden was vandalized earlier this week.

Ironic that such a hateful act is bringing about such a positive effect, food bank staffer says

Glace Bay Atlantic Superstore workers were among the people who made donations to the community food bank after its vegetable garden was targeted by vandals. (Glace Bay Food Bank Society/Facebook)

The Glace Bay Food Bank in Glace Bay, N.S., is getting offers of help both at home and as far away as Vancouver to replace vegetables and plants lost when its garden was vandalized earlier this week.

The site was bustling Thursday with volunteers, staff and neighbours dropping in to lend a hand.

"I saw it on the news the other day, and I just feel bad about what happened and I just wanted to help out as much as I could," said Allan Daley of Glace Bay.

"I don't mind doing some physical work, moving some dirt and stuff. I just did my own yard and this is only a small job."

Flood of calls and messages

Food bank co-ordinator Patricia Hurley told CBC's Maritime Noon she hasn't been able to get through all the messages that have come in since volunteers discovered Tuesday that someone had doused part of the garden with fuel oil.

People have been generous with cash donations, mostly ranging between $10 and $100, she said. "A gentleman from New Brunswick called. He's donating $500 toward the garden."

The food bank's garden is located behind the organization's Hector Street location and runs the length of the building. Hundreds of cucumbers, pepper plants and beets and beet greens had to be thrown out, and soil removed, because of the contamination. 

Help coming from many sources

A mother and her eight-year-old son also showed up with a donation, Hurley said.

"He wanted to go buy [us] groceries because of what he had seen in the paper that happened to our garden. And him and his father also have a garden and he said when his garden grows ... he wants to donate some vegetables."

A group of workers from a nearby Atlantic Superstore unloaded a truck with bags of soil and food items.

Garden co-ordinator Kimberley McPherson said she's amazed by the response.

"The community has been coming in, neighbours have been in with their pets, making sure everything is OK. Everyone is checking on everything," she said.

Hateful act, positive effect

"It has brought the community closer together. It's unfortunate it does take a negative act to do so but it has had some positive outcomes."

Hurley said the community support has far outdone the effects of the vandalism.

"So the person isn't winning, whoever [did] it. They didn't achieve what they wanted to achieve."

It helped that the weather co-operated, she added.

Lack of rain helped

"We called the Environment Department. They told us because it didn't rain, it saved the garden. If it had've rained, we would have lost the garden," she said.

"So we were able to remove the plants and the soil, everything is fine, we can replant in the spots that were destroyed," she said

Hurley said she still doesn't know why someone targeted the non-profit group's garden.

"This is our second year with the garden and people come in and we give them vegetables with our orders. They look forward to these vegetables because they can't afford to buy them in the store," she said.

"Last year, we never had a problem with the garden, nothing was touched or disturbed."

With files from Gary Mansfield