• Tom’s of Maine awards $20,000 to Sitka Local Foods Network in 50 States For Good program

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A short tweet last summer has resulted in a major contribution for a Sitka nonprofit.

In July, Sitka Local Foods Network Communications Director/Board Member Charles Bingham noticed a Tom’s of Maine promotion asking people to tweet about how they would use $20,000 to support a community nonprofit organization, so he created a Twitter account and tweeted about how he’d like the money to help the Sitka Local Foods Network’s work to improve food security in Sitka.

50-states-logoToday, Tom’s of Maine announced that the Sitka Local Foods Network has been selected as one of 52 winners from across the country in its seventh annual “50 States for Good” community-giving program. The Sitka Local Foods Network will receive $20,000 to fund important community projects and services in its mission to increase the amount of locally produced and harvested food in the diets of Southeast Alaskans.

“Due to my current work situation (or lack thereof), I don’t have much money to contribute to my favorite nonprofits. So I saw the promotion as a way to potentially get some funding for a local cause I believe in,” Bingham said. “It’s neat to see the power of 140 characters.”

“The Sitka Local Foods Network is elated to be receiving one of Tom’s of Maine’s 50 States of Good awards,” Sitka Local Foods Network President Lisa Sadleir-Hart said. “These funds will bolster our efforts to engage Sitka around issues of community food security and sustainability. Additionally, they’ll help us expand our programming efforts focused on food production at household, organizational and community levels. Finally, the award will assist Sitka in planning for a more robust, resilient food system that can feed us into the future as we participate in the upcoming community comprehensive planning process.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK Sitka Local Foods Network board members and supporters pose at the St. Peter's Fellowship Farm communal garden on Monday. St. Peter's Fellowship Farm supplies most of the local produce sold at the Sitka Farmers Markets during the summer. The first Sitka Farmers Market of the season is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 4, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian St. The other five Sitka Farmers Market dates are July 18, Aug. 1, Aug. 15, Aug. 29, and Sept. 12. Pictured are, front row from left, Michelle Putz, Muriel Sadleir-Hart, Lisa Sadleir-Hart, and Kathy Jones. Back row, Matthew Jackson, Jonathan Adler, Peter Gorman, Jud Kirkness, Brandie Cheatham, Mary Therese Thomson, and Laura Schmidt.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
Sitka Local Foods Network board members and supporters pose at the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden in June 2015. St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm supplies most of the local produce sold at the Sitka Farmers Markets during the summer. Pictured are, front row from left, Michelle Putz, Muriel Sadleir-Hart, Lisa Sadleir-Hart, and Kathy Jones. Back row, Matthew Jackson, Jonathan Adler, Peter Gorman, Jud Kirkness, Brandie Cheatham, Mary Therese Thomson, and Laura Schmidt.

To accomplish its mission, the Sitka Local Foods Network hosts the annual Sitka Farmers Market in the summer, operates the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden (which grows produce to sell at the Sitka Farmers Market), and offers a variety of garden and food preservation classes throughout the year (including an innovative garden mentoring project for beginning gardeners).

According to Sadleir-Hart, the Tom’s of Maine award will work to “grow” our garden education and garden mentoring programs, which are key elements of the Sitka Local Foods Network’s mission to “increase the amount of locally produced and harvested food in the diets of Southeast Alaskans.” Additionally, the monies will support production improvements at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm and at Pat Arvin’s extension garden.

TomsOfMaineTweetPassionate community members took to their social media pages to share #OneWaytoHelp their communities, amassing nearly 10,000 submissions. One entrant representing each state and Washington, D.C., was selected to designate a local nonprofit in their area to receive project funding from Tom’s of Maine (there also was a random UPC code winner).

“This year’s nonprofit recipients bring to life an inspiring picture of the care that Americans have for each other and their communities,” said Susan Dewhirst, goodness programs manager at Tom’s of Maine. “People often think giving back to their community is time intensive, and we wanted to show there are easy ways to make a difference, like raising awareness for a cause you love and supporting brands that strive to make the world a better place for future generations.”

Tom’s of Maine is a natural products company focused on oral and personal care with a variety of products including toothpaste, antiperspirant, deodorant, bar soap, lip balm, and baby shampoo. It has given 10 percent of its profits back to the community since 1970 and encourages employees to use 5 percent (12 days) of paid time off to volunteer every year. For more information about Tom’s of Maine, visit http://www.tomsofmaine.com or https://www.facebook.com/TomsofMaine. A complete list of winners can be found here, http://blog.tomsofmaine.com/index.php/50sfg/.

To learn more about the Sitka Local Foods Network, go to http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/. You also can like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaLocalFoodsNetwork, and you can follow us on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/SitkaLocalFoods (@SitkaLocalFoods).

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