Every summer for more than 20 years, community members have enjoyed winding through various North Idaho gardens on the Coeur d'Alene Garden Club Garden Tour.
As they stroll and delight in the whimsical creativity of area gardeners and artists, they're also supporting local nonprofits that benefit from tour ticket sales. This year's event raked in $14,000 with more than 800 guests.
"We work so hard raising the funds once a year," said tour chairwoman Bonnie Warwick. "Not all of our membership works on it, so for the fact that we have maybe 40 of our members producing the tour, that’s a pretty good return on working bodies."
The Coeur d'Alene Garden Club Garden Tour distributed those funds Tuesday afternoon as club members and recipients gathered in the First Baptist Church in downtown Coeur d'Alene.
"It’s always quite humbling for me to stand before a group that works so hard and cares so much for the work we’re doing and has made that commitment to support our mission," said Children's Village CEO Mark Wilson.
He said the Garden Tour funds would be used for Children's Village's nutritional program.
"Feeding the babies," he said. "Can't get much more warm and fuzzy than that."
Diane Zell, director of Silver Angels for the Elderly, said her organization would use the Garden Tour funds for expanding its birthday present ministry to at least one more care facility.
"We go ahead and buy those presents for that person and deliver it to them on their birthday," she said. "They just never get recognition, just to be celebrated for who they are and just to know they’re loved and cherished. It is rewarding."
Zell, who has been a Garden Club member for about two years, said it's amazing the way Warwick and other club members pull together to make the tour happen each year.
"I actually was a hostess in one of the gardens and just to see how excited people were to see us. There's a lot of work to it," she said. "It's just such a blessing to everybody. Not only is the tour super cool and fun, but all the members are amazing and supportive caring people. It just transcends to that level of giving whatever way we can."
Other 2019 Garden Tour recipients: North Idaho College Dual Enrollment; Hayden Meadows Greenhouse Project; Skyway Elementary School; ElderHelp of North Idaho; ICARE (St. Vincent de Paul); Turkeys and More; Safe Passage Violence Prevention Center; Second Chance Pet Rescue; and Kootenai Humane Society.