Trash and destruction were all that remained after students flooded the streets of Broughdale Avenue for Western’s Fake Homecoming, also known as FOCO. In the wake of the aftermath, students rallied together to repair the damage others had caused.
Bess Srahulek, 87, has lived on Broughdale since 1960 and as result of the FOCO festivities, the garden her late husband planted was destroyed. In response, Maya Bielecki, a student at Western and resident on Broughdale, started a GoFundMe page in order to raise funds to repair and replant Srahulek’s garden. The GoFundMe raised almost one thousand dollars in just one day and has since raised a total of $1992.
Over a dozen people have shown up to help out with the event. The local Landscaping company, Bravo Property Care and Services even lent their equipment and expertise to the project. Students, neighbours, faculty members, and other community members are getting their hands dirty for a good cause.
Bess Srahulek, lovingly nicknamed the “Broughdale Grandma”, says she is just happy to see people enjoying gardening as much as she does. The garden was originally planted by Srahulek’s late husband, so she was devastated to see it destroyed, especially since she was hoping it would attract butterflies and colourful birds as they flew south for the winter.
USC President, Tobi Solebo and Vice President, Landon Tulk were amongst the many volunteers. Tulk, although reluctant to give a media statement, had this to say.
Hesitation to talk to media was not uncommon at the event. Organizer, Maya Bielecki, had declined to be interviewed, stating, “Its something I’m just doing for Bess, not for the media attention.” Clearly, everyone was there to do help repair Ms. Srahulek’s garden; focusing on community involvement rather than sensationalizing the event.
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