Benched, and loving it

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Front row from left, St. Andrews United Church garden committee members Carol Chorneyko and Bev Whitelaw; back row, Matt Chorneyko, Roy Cornell, Jim Glassford, Steve Tuinstra of the Optimist Club of Chatham, and Edwinna Rawlings showcase one of three benches in the church garden. Linda Bowers, a key member of the garden committee is absent in the image. The Optimists purchased one of the benches for the committee.

Club helps church group by purchasing park bench

Nestled up to the northeast side of St. Andrew’s Church in Chatham is a shaded little garden.

With the help of the Optimist Club of Chatham, that garden has some relaxed seating for its users.

Optimist Greg Beatty said the initial thought of the Optimists was to help landscape the garden, but he was told the church garden committee already had that covered.

“But they had just ordered the benches. We talked to our executive and they thought it was a great idea to pay for one of the benches,” he said.

That $750 donation caught the gardening committee off guard, in a good way.

“It was a huge surprise,” Edwinna Rawlings said. “I was thinking they might donate $100 or $200 towards a bench, but they came through for the whole thing,” she said.

Beatty said the project support really is the closing of a circle of support.

“Because they (the church) are so generous to a good friend of ours by the name of Arnie Robbins – he’s in charge of a program they run here that will provide food and whatever is necessary to people once a week,” he said. “The church allows them to come in, even though they (food program organizers) are not members of this church. He works with us, they work with him, so why not work with them?”

Rawlings said the relaxing garden is frequented by people from St. Andrew’s Residence, as well as staff from the Judy LaMarsh federal building across the street.

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