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Dirty Job Helps Send Kids to Camp

Sequoia YMCA's 'Dirty Dozen' volunteer group sells heirloom plant varieties to help send kids from low-income families to summer camps.

The Sequoia YMCA "Dirty Dozen," made up of 45 volunteers, will host the sixth annual Heirloom Tomato and More Sale on Saturday, April 14, starting at 9 a.m., at 262 Santiago Ave. in Redwood City.

The sale will feature 50 varieties of tomato plants, 20 varieties of hot and sweet peppers, and 31 varieties of herbs and flowers, all for $3 each.

The YMCA's Karen Puryear says the sale is always very popular, with plants selling out last year by noon.

Proceeds will provide financial assistance for children from low-income families to go to summer camp at the Y at no cost to their parents.

“If we can show kids that we care by giving back to the community, we've achieved our ultimate goal,” said Sonia Picone, long-time YMCA member and volunteer who organized the fundraiser in 2006 with the help of committed volunteers, calling themselves The Dirty Dozen.

“Without the effort from this group of dedicated men and women, this dream could never have been fulfilled,” she said. “We all work in harmony for a common cause and enjoy every minute we are together."

Over the past six years, the effort has ramped up. In the first year, the group raised $100. Last year, because of the continued grassroots effort, the proceeds enabled 66 kids to go to summer camp. This year’s goal is to raise enough money to send 100 kids to camp.

This year, the Dirty Dozen built a large greenhouse, planted seeds, and nurtured the plants. Volunteers are sharing news of the event with their friends and will be working at the sale.

Open-pollinated tomato and pepper seeds donated by a local distributor will be sold at the event. Beyond volunteer support, YMCA members are also involved. They brought in plant tags for re-use, empty pots for planting, and boxes to be used as carriers at the event.

The sale begins at 9 a.m. sharp on Saturday, April 14 at 262 Santiago Ave. For more information,  call 650-368-4168.

This article and photo was sent to Redwood City Patch by the Sequoia YMCA.

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