An important part of Zenzen Gardens is giving back to our community in the North Fork Valley. Cindie Sorensen, proprietress of Zenzen Gardens, believes community comes first. She is dedicated to helping those in need. As a young girl she helped her grandmother, who was a big part of Royal Neighbors of America. Cindie learned how to help others as it became part of her life. Cindie has helped families who were losing their daughter with brain cancer, to school fundraisers and raising money for restaurant workers who lost their income during our month long restaurant shut down due to losing the town’s water system in 2018. She also built community gardens, a community food distribution and food drives for children.
Food for all...
In February of 2021, Cindie started a food drive after seeing a Facebook post of a young girl who was hungry. The girl was agitated during a zoom class wither teacher. The teacher asked her what was wrong and the girl said she was hungry. The child was no longer getting free school lunches during Co-Vid, as her classes moved online from a school setting. Cindie started a fundraisers of $10,000 to feed the children of the North Fork Valley. Cindie selected healthy food items, shopped for groceries and with her many amazing community volunteers pick-up supplies, packed and delivered boxes to families in need to our community. Weekly the fundraiser fed between 78-92 families.
She contacted each of the six schools in the valley and asked the schools to provide the number of children who were most at risk of hunger. Once the boxes were packed, volunteers would deliver the boxes to schools to be handed out to families in need to be picked up.
The need was so great, and the money was quickly being spent on groceries, she then contacted the Food Bank of the Rockies and procured additional food. The Food Bank provided a box of food and a gallon of milk every other week. The Food Bank was happy to provide food but there was no way to distribute the boxes to the community. As Cindie, already had set up a distribution center all she had to do was get boxes from Delta to the drop off locations. Cindie and volunteers made this happen.
Cindie and community volunteers also delivered between 15-20 boxes each week to the community. She worked with Paonia Farm and Supply as they were more accessible and convenient for those in need to pick up their boxes than coming out to the farm. As the days became warmer she coordinated with the Town of Paonia and set up a pick up location at Polous Park. The boxes were set up in the shade and covered with blankets to keep the items cold.
Garden of abundance...
As the Co-vid pandemic hit our little valley, Cindie decided to set up a community garden to help those in need. Zenzen Gardens provided all the seeds, soil and pots and started up the farm’s little makeshift green house. She and community volunteers planted a 1/2 of an acre of vegetables to those who wanted or needed food. At that time she had between 9-12 volunteers that maintained the gardens and they each received a box of food. Then, she decided to give food away to the community. Cindie, staff and volunteers harvested and washed the veggies and packed and delivered 18 boxes weekly during the growing season. Cindie is so grateful to partner with Paonia Farm and Supply as they also give back to the community.
Water for all...
With the water crisis in the valley, Cindie felt for the restaurants who closed down. Cindie was a waitress in her early life and understood the needs of those who worked in the restaurants. The Town of Paonia lost all of their water when the main water tank’s valve had been left open draining our water supply fed by summer springs. The county and state shut down all restaurants in Paonia. Cindie started a fundraiser to help financially for the livelihood of restaurant workers. She contacted each restaurant and found out the number of employees and wrote each employee a check.
Zenzen Gardens is here for our community, for fundraisers, free community events, feeding the hungry, or providing jobs to those in need. Now, she is taking 5% of all ticket sales from concerts to start a fund for the future needs of our valley.
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