SANTA CRUZ, Calif.—LELO employees, joined by a host of community volunteers, began planting the Shannon Collins Memorial Garden at the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center in Santa Cruz last Saturday.
“We were honored to see such enthusiasm and energy for our first volunteer day,” officials said in a release. “With your help, we were able to complete cleanup and begin planting several phases of the garden.”
Collins, who co-owned the adult boutique Camouflage in Santa Cruz with her husband Ken Vinson, was murdered in May 2013. The 38-year-old Collins was stabbed to death in broad daylight by a man police identified as Charles Edwards III, a parolee with a history of serious mental illness who was released from a state correctional facility after a clerical error. At the time of the attack, Collins was walking to a hair appointment.
LELO officials announced the creation of the garden last month to honor Collins, who was one of the first retailers to carry the manufacturer’s products and was considered part of the LELO family, they said.
The Walnut Avenue Women’s Center provides a variety of services for the purpose of helping women to improve their life situations. The organization is women-centered, seeking to put women’s experiences at the center of the organization’s thinking. They provide services that empower and inform women, their children and their families, enabling those they serve to realize their potential in all aspects of their lives.
The Shannon Collins Memorial Garden will feature a meandering path, areas with benches, a water feature and a plaque. Shannon’s Vegetable Patch will be planted in the children’s area of the center, allowing clients of the organization to participate in growing everything from tomatoes, sunflowers and squash to strawberries, lettuce and beans. The produce can then be sold at local farmer’s market events to further benefit the center.
“Together, we have started something beautiful that honors Shannon, and will be cherished by the Santa Cruz community for years to come,” LELO reps said.
The next volunteer day will be Succulent Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2.