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Miss Oktoberfest feeds homeless with community garden

For some of the guests, the produce from the garden is the most nutrient dense food they've ever had
Sandra Dynka
Supplied image. Photo by Sylvia Pond

She’s known locally as Miss Oktoberfest, but a quick Google search will tell you she’s as dazzling as the crown she wears.

Sandra Dynka’s Instagram profile describes her as “current Miss Oktoberfest, cheerleader for the underdogs and average Joes, holistic health advocate, and professional tennis player” - and as her reign comes to a close, she shows no signs of slowing down.

“I am still so happy that I get to be an ambassador for this community and an advocate for real women, who have real insecurities, and sometimes need people to believe in them more than they believe in themselves,” says Dynka.

Her brand of authenticity is the foundation that supports her uniquely influential ambassadorship. “I would be lying if I said the crowning moment didn't come with some fear and insecurity, and I still have to work on quieting these thoughts, once in a while. I was worried about filling the shoes that walked before me, what people thought of me, and if I was cut out for all of the endeavours ahead of me,” she admits.

Dynka says that being selected as Miss Oktoberfest has made her realize that “we have the ability to design a life that we want. We are here to make an impact on the world.”

While she has various community projects on the go, her heart belongs to one very special venture: The Trinity Community Table (TCT) Garden Project.

The garden is in its third summer but TCT has been around for many years. The organization feeds the hungry three times a week, 52 weeks a year. “Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we see anywhere from 150-200 guests who need food. Accessible nutrition is something I am so passionate about.”

Shawna Bator, TCT Community Garden Coordinator says, “Sandra has been instrumental in not only launching this community garden initiative, but without her efforts directly in the garden, it would not have been such success.”

For some of the guests, the produce from the garden is the most nutrient dense food they've ever had. “We live in a country and community of opportunity, where we have everything we need to make food accessible to every single person.” Dynka says she looks at it as her personal responsibility as a local ambassador.

She says there’s still a misconception that helping others takes too much time. “This is a myth. There are many ways to make a big impact. A few hours a week basically sustains our garden. Spread the word, we can make a difference in our communities with baby steps.”

So, what will Dynka take away from her year as Miss O?

“I've learned that you can be a work in progress and still be a role model. For the first time in my life, I was ok with being exactly that. Being crowned Miss Oktoberfest was just extra confirmation that others saw that the real me is enough. Not only is she enough, she is valuable.”

When asked if she still has any unmet goals to achieve before her year, as Miss Oktoberfest, comes to an end, she replies with a quote from Eckhart Tolle, “Time isn't precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time, but the one point that is out of time: the Now. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”

As Oktoberfest approaches, Miss O leaves behind some pretty big shoes to fill.

Residents can get involved in the garden project by reaching out to Sandra on Instagram or by going directly to the TCT website

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