On Saturday July 14, community members can get a rare peek behind the trellises of eight beautiful gardens throughout the Fox Cities while supporting Homeless Connections’ mission to end homelessness in the region.
The 28th annual Garden Walk runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and features the gardens of local residents from Neenah to Hortonville to Appleton. Each garden is staffed with a master gardener who will guide guests through, answer questions and provide insight on each featured garden. All proceeds from ticket sales go directly to funding the programs and services provided by Homeless Connections.
Homeless Connections Special Events Coordinator Samantha Uitenbroek expects about 400 attendees this year.
“This is a wider audience than we normally reach so it’s a great way to get the word out to people who might not be familiar with the resources in the area and to help sow the seeds of opportunity for people experiencing homelessness,” she says.
The Garden Walk raises about $5,000 each year, which Uitenbroek says is vital to the longevity of Homeless Connections’ services and programs. Homeless Connections’ shelter program serves 78 people on a daily basis. Thousands are served annually through the organization’s street outreach, prevention and diversion and case management programs.
For a suggested donation of $1-2, attendees can also take home a decorative rock handprinted by a group of middle school volunteers from St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Greenville. Rocks will be available at each of the garden locations.
In addition to all ticket sales benefiting Homeless Connections, Stone Arch Brewpub in Appleton will donate $2 to Homeless Connections for every salad or salad bar item purchased during the Garden Walk. Simply present your ticket during the meal to continue supporting the cause.
“If the weather is anything like has been the last few years, 80 degrees and gorgeous, it will be a perfect day to grab a salad and a lemonade and kick back and relax,” Uitenbroek says.
Tickets are $15 before the event and $20 the day of the event. Tickets double as a tour map of the gardens and a map is available online as well.
Tickets are available for purchase at Homeless Connections, online at homelessconnections.net or at the following local retailers: Ace Hardware in Appleton, Schmalz Custom Landscaping in Appleton, Kitz & Pfeil in Appleton, Memorial Florists & Greenhouses at all Appleton locations, Wild Bird & Backyard in Appleton, The Wreath Factory in Menasha and Sterling Gardens in Neenah.