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Three years ago nearly 50 CCC members and friends gathered at a recently-opened shelter for trafficked women. The Sanctum House building stood empty for some time and the grounds were in dire need of attention. In the space of a single day, the CCC crew worked nothing short of magic. The crew weeded and mulched, trimmed bushes, and planted flowering perennials. We also filled pots with colorful annuals to beautify a large patio. The volunteers tore out an old overgrown vegetable garden, rebuilt and prepared it for the growing season. That first year’s effort was a huge step towards turning the property from an institution into a welcoming home for women who had not had a safe place to call home for years, if ever.
In 2019 CCC repeated the effort, this time adding more raised beds to the vegetable garden and improving a meditation trail through woods on the property. We planned for a repeat event in 2020 prior to the pandemic hitting. Due to COVID restrictions, the event was canceled. Instead, a few parishioners provided plants for the vegetable garden, some flowers for color and instructed the residents on planting and care.
Your first thought might be “That’s great. The grounds were cleaned up and CCC helped to make it a nicer place to live.” Which is certainly true. However, the real story is a bit more inspirational than that. After the first year’s workday, it was stressed that all of the plantings needed watering and weeding regularly or they wouldn’t make it. One resident, in particular, promised that she would make it her job to ensure that everything was tended for. She not only kept her word but when she became the first resident to graduate from the Sanctum House program, she referenced the work CCC had done as one inspiration for her success. It not only helped her develop a love for gardening but had eased the transition from her old life to one with a much brighter future. After both years’ work, staff relayed that while the residents certainly enjoyed the colorful flowers and garden produce, what impacted them, even more, was the fact that so many people cared about them and wanted to help. In 2020, the simple act of planting the vegetables and flowers was a first for a number of the residents but more importantly, as the COVID lockdown put a strain on food bank donations to the house and funds became tight, the vegetable garden that CCC had renovated and expanded helped them get through the tough times.
This year we are able to gather again at Sanctum House to work and laugh together, and more importantly, show our love and care for women rescued from human trafficking. Please consider joining us for this inspiring and fulfilling day on Saturday, May 15. You can add your name to the SignUp Genius at this link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/sanctum2021