Planting a seed for a cash-strapped charity

Oak Bay women rally behind the Mustard Seed by planning online donation service

Stay-at-home Oak Bay moms Meghan Bowes

Dropping off a box of toys at the Mustard Seed food bank last winter, Shannon Phillips realized that her small gesture could go a long way to brighten the day for members of struggling families.

“The first time I went there it was raining and I saw a woman, pregnant and pushing a stroller, trying to balance the food she’d picked up,” recalled Phillips, an Oak Bay mother of two. “I just felt like I could do more for people like her.”

Phillips went through her home looking for more items to donate and asked some of her friends to do the same. She also contacted doctors’ offices, asking them  to donate formula samples nearing expiry.

These days,  she drives around picking up donations once a month to deliver to the Mustard Seed.

“I always have a full trunk and the seats folded down to fit everything,” said Phillips, who has taken a shine to being called the “seed lady.”

She’s set up fundraisers benefiting the food bank, including a recent pub night at the Penny Farthing where she collected donations of school supplies.

Now she’s looking for women to join her efforts. She’s in the process of developing a website with friend Meghan Bowes to reach potential organizers and donors for future events.

The seed ladies, as they call themselves, aren’t limiting themselves to supporting the Mustard Seed. They’re also collecting donations for Christmas hampers, and plan to hold a soup night at London Chef, both to raise funds for the Victoria Women’s Transition House.

“We’re very grassroots and just willing to try whatever ideas come to us,” Phillips said. “We want to make giving to charity easy and fun and social.”

To get involved, email seedladies@gmail.com.

editor@oakbaynews.com

Did you know?

While the Mustard Seed primarily distributes food, it also accepts:

• Clothing for all ages

• Toys, car seats and learning supplies

• Household goods

• Cash, including automatic monthly donations charged to credit cards

• Volunteers to help with daily operations

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