The J. Douglas Earthy Community Service Award was established in 1999 to honour Doug Earthy – a long-time member of the Kiwanis Club of North London. This award is designed to raise awareness of the vital contribution that volunteers make to the London community and to recognize, each year, a special volunteer and their organization. The recipient of the Earthy Award is selected by a volunteer committee of the Kiwanis Club of Forest City – London, who now manages the award. The award recipient will be a person who has given outstanding volunteer service over a significant period of time to a children- and/or youth-serving charitable organization within the City of London and Middlesex County. Either an organization or an individual can initiate the nomination for the award.
Karen Hoffman has volunteered with NELCE for 15 years now. Over the last year, Karen has participated as a lead coordinating volunteer for several activities including the weekly drop in knitting and euchre sessions, as well as the NELCE community garden in partnership with John Paul II Secondary School. Work in the community garden begins annually in April and ends in November. Karen oversees the planting, pruning, watering, and harvesting of produce and coordinates the garden volunteers. Caring for the garden required a nearly daily visit to water and care for the plants, especially with the growing number of heat advisories and lower levels of precipitation. Over this past year, the garden has produced over 450lbs of vegetables that have been distributed to 55+ families in London, including LIHC clients. Many are low income, residing in the north east of the city and are highly impacted by the increased cost of living. These numbers reflect the last year alone. The NELCE garden began over 5 years ago and has produced a similar volume of vegetables annually. I nominated for the J. Douglas Earthy Community Service Award not only for her work on the garden and with NELCE but her overall commitment to her neighbors and community wellbeing. She brings everyone around her into the fold of her care and encourages them to participate with their talents and strengths, always widening the circle. She is a community builder in the truest sense and we are wealthier for it.