Food, book nook help neighbours

A map pointer with the image of a church
 on August 30, 2023

Orillia church responds as inflation bites budgets

St. David Anglican-Lutheran Church, Orillia remains intent on sharing love to its community, one veggie or book at a time.

The congregation gathered on June 25 to bless the church’s community garden and to celebrate a brand new “book nook” that was donated in memory of a parishioner who passed away in 2021.

The Rev. Lori Pilatzke, incumbent, said Ryan Oliver was the driving force behind the “re-energization” of the church’s gardens, which sit on a shaded strip of grass behind the church.

The miniature library now carries dozens of children’s books, sheltered by glass doors attached to a colourful wooden house.

“Come and take a book or leave a book: they’re for everyone,” said Ms. Pilatzke.

Parishioners laid tobacco on the garden and around the book nook, as an act of blessing on the garden and its impact on the community.

Ms. Pilatzke said the book nook and gardens, along with the area’s shaded benches and grass, can be a great local resource for those living in Orillia’s south ward, who may not be able to get to the library or downtown parks.

“This place is supposed to be for our neighbourhood. It’s something they can come and do – grab a book and just chill,” she said.

Beside the book nook, raised gardens are home to blooming tomato plants, green beans, onions, carrots, lettuces and more. All the produce is given to community members.

“Budgets are tight, groceries have gone up. So people who are already on a tight budget, this can help,” Ms. Pilatzke said.

The congregation blesses the gardens each year, as it reaffirms its mission in the community.

“The blessing is acknowledging we’re in partnership with God, our creator, and we’re asking for God’s grace and love to be poured into these seeds and as they sprout,” Ms. Pilatzke said.

As the cost of living rises and inflation challenges families’ budgets, Ms. Pilatzke said the church hopes the area and its produce – whether veggies or fun books – can offer a bit of help and fun during difficult times.

“Our mission statement is ‘stand together’ so everything we do we try and do for our neighbourhood. It’s not for us.”


This article was first published by Orillia Matters.


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