Linda Taylor had hoped to be celebrating her 50th birthday in Bali this week. Instead she’s in lockdown at home in Dunedin — and she’ll be celebrating on Thursday with an online party, a big cake baked by her son, and a big dose of goodness on behalf of a charity very close to her heart.
“My husband and I had a brilliant trip planned — biking through rice paddies, white water rafting and glamping in stunning riverside tents. We haven’t been on a holiday for a couple of years, so this was something I was really looking forward to.”
Locked down in Dunedin instead, she still wanted to celebrate her milestone birthday, and to connect with family and friends — so she’s doing that with a lockdown birthday registry to fundraise for the Garden to Table Trust.
Linda works as the Executive Officer for Garden to Table, so creating the registry for the charity she’s passionate about felt like something special she could still do.
“This seemed like a meaningful way to share what I do with my wider friends and family and instead of meeting for a drink or dinner, asking them to contribute those funds to something I feel passionately about.”
“I hope that they will see this as a real gift to me for my birthday, rather than ‘just’ a donation. I will certainly feel just as grateful for any gift through my registry as I would for a present.”
Garden to Table works with over 6,000 primary school children right across New Zealand, helping them discover a love for fresh food and to learn skills that will last a lifetime. Children learn to grow, cook, eat and enjoy garden inspired meals. The programme is curriculum-integrated and provides real-world learning opportunities, taking learning outside the classroom.
Linda says Garden to Table has been facing several challenges due to the lockdown.
“We had to cancel our ‘Garden to Table Garden Parties’ fundraiser which were being run around the country and supported by Palmers Garden Centres in their cafes, so that put a big hole in our annual fundraising.”
Garden to Table is a small charity entirely reliant of grants and generous donations, and Linda says they don’t take any gift for granted.
“It costs us $20 to support a child in the Garden to Table programme for year. $20 means that a child can experience at least 30 hours of hands-on gardening and cooking sessions, and at least 20 vegetable-based meals that they have grown and cooked themselves. We think that’s pretty good value for money!” says Linda.
“Many grant funders are also halting funding which creates a lot of strain financially. We’re a small charity without significant reserves, so ensuring I can continue to keep my brilliant teams is my priority.”
The lockdown has meant Garden to Table needed to find ways to support their schools and students remotely, and Linda says her team and volunteers responded brilliantly.
“I’m so proud that the first thought was “how do we support our schools and students”, rather than what this lockdown meant for them personally. They have continued to share fabulous resources for parents at home and for teachers, to support them with at-home learning.”
Post lockdown, Linda says she is hopeful that more primary schools will introduce Garden to Table to their curriculum, so children can build the essential life skills to grow, harvest, prepare and share good food.
“We work every week with the kitchen and garden as classrooms, which is obviously incredibly relevant right now, and provides a fantastic opportunity to learn for children who don’t thrive in a traditional classroom environment.”
“I’ll always remember one of the first comments I heard from a student in Garden to Table was ‘I realised I’m not dumb.’ That type of comment stays with you.”
For her birthday, Linda says her 15-year old son is planning to bake an enormous cake, and she’ll be having a joint online party with a friend who’s birthday is the day before. Although she’ll be celebrating her birthday in lockdown, Linda says she’s grateful to celebrate the health and well-being of her loved ones.
“I’m from the UK and things are much more difficult over there. Taking the time to connect and be thankful seems much more important right now.”
If you’d like to help Linda celebrate her 50th birthday and support Garden to Table at the same time, you can do that through her registry here.
If you’d like to find out more about Garden to Table, or other ways you can support them, you can visit their website or follow them on Facebook.
Anyone from small kids to big businesses can choose kindness instead of stuff, using charitable gift cards or charitable registries at The Good Registry:
- Create your own Good Registry for a special event (like Linda has) and ask friends to donate to a charity you choose.
- Give Good Gift Cards instead of traditional gifts, to show people you are thinking about them, and enable them to donate to charities they care about.
We have 65 partner charities that our Good Sorts can choose to support.
You can hear from people and businesses who have used Good Registries and Good Gift Cards to give more simply and sustainably, and to help causes they care about, on our inspirational Giving Wall.