Sunshine joins the beautification effort

Seeking ways to raise funds, Sunshine Industries is getting into the community beautification effort.

“In the winter, we developed this ‘poor man’s planter,’ which is what we call it,” said Chuck Thompson, Sunshine Industries board president, speaking of a cedar cover that goes around a bucket, which is being produced by Sunshine clients.

Sunshine Industries is a nonprofit agency providing vocational services to develop-mentally challenged individuals. Clients are paid a wage for their work at Sunshine. Sunshine serves 70 clients.

Sunshine’s initial plan was to start marketing the planters in stores, but Sunshine finished them so late, in February instead of last August and September, that the organization couldn’t get them into stores this year.

Hitting a dead end, “we thought, ‘let’s get involved in the Sweet Home beautification,'” Thompson said.

Sunshine workers take slats of cedar and nail them to shipping straps, which are pulled into a cylinder fastened by Velcro, Thompson said. A 5-gallon bucket is then set inside the jacket and used as a planter.

Home Depot donated 100 buckets to Sunshine Industries, Thompson said.

“We are going to get potting soil and put flowers in them,” Thompson said. “Then our plan is to approach businesses in town.”

Sunshine will ask the businesses for a donation in exchange for putting the planters out downtown, Thompson said. Sunshine will maintain the planters from May through September, through all of the summer activities, including Frontier Sportsman’s Holiday and the Oregon Jamboree.

Some of the old planters placed by the Beautification Committee are still around town, but many have been pulled, Thompson said. The problem with those planters has been that the flowers weren’t getting watered on a timely basis.

Sunshine will go around town and water the plants three to four times a week, Thompson said. The clients build the jackets and plant the flowers, and Thompson will approach businesses.

“The benefit of this kind of project is the clients feel like they are participating in Sweet Home beautification,” Thompson said. “They really feel good about this.

“The other thing it does for us is it gives exposure for Sunshine and our clients, and we think it’s going to help with our capital campaign.”

Sunshine is attempting to raise enough funds to construct a new building.

Sunshine hopes to have a successful year doing the planters and then turn it into a tradition, Thompson said. The clients will pick up the pots sometime in September and then reuse them next year.

“A great big thank you to all local businesses that have helped contribute,” Thompson said. In addition to Home Depot’s donation, Sweet Home RV provided a water pump; Santiam Feed and Garden is helping with flowers, advice and storage; and Bob Pickett’s Central Bark is providing a potting mix.

Santiam Feed and Garden also is selling the planters.

As an extension of the program, the clients also are planting a garden on the Sunshine Industries property, giving some of the more difficult-to-serve clients some work to do, Thompson said.

Thompson will begin contacting businesses with the offer in late April or early May, Thompson said. The planters also are available to residents.

Sunshine also seeks volunteer experts in gardening to help with potting, he said.

For information, to donate and receive a planter or to volunteer, call Sunshine at 367-2765.