Peace Prize Shawndel Malcolm

Shawndel Malcolm, founder of the Planting a Seed Foundation, is the first nominee for this year’s Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize.

Contributed photo

Shawndel Malcolm, founder of the Planting a Seed organization, has been announced as the first nominee for this year’s Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize.

According to the Peace Prize committee, he was nominated by Mark Ashamalla, a 2016 Peace Prize nominee, who wanted Malcolm recognized for “the countless hours of his own time spent to care for and support the less fortunate in our community.”

Malcolm’s driving force is described in the brochure for Planting a Seed, a nonprofit organization that he started in Lompoc in January 2013 “to empower and restore hope by providing support and opportunities to those under-served in our community.”

The brochure further states: “We are dedicated to helping people reclaim their lives after experiencing the devastating effects of homelessness.”

And that is what Malcolm does with almost all of his free time, according to the Peace Prize committee, which noted that Malcolm goes to where the homeless are, on the streets of Lompoc and in the adjacent riverbeds, and he approaches them and offers assistance in the form of hygienic care packages, information about where they can get food, and urges them into programs that provide housing or mental care.

Malcolm also works with food-providing programs at the Bridgehouse shelter east of Lompoc, and, beginning in October, will do similar work at the Marks House at 203 North N St. Additionally, every September he participates in Lompoc Community Connect, during which businesses and organizations provide free medical screenings, free clothing, free haircuts and a free meal to those experiencing homelessness.

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He also coordinates once a year with city, county and state personnel to go into the riverbeds and clean out trash, sometimes removing as much as 2 tons.

The Peace Prize Award ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Valley of the Flowers United Church of Christ, 3346 Constellation Road in Vandenberg Village.

During the ceremony, nominees will be honored with a certificate of merit, and the Peace Prize, a wood and ceramic sculpture, will be awarded. The community is invited to attend.

Nominees can be made by contacting the Valley of the Flowers United Church of Christ at 733-3333.

This report was prepared by Willis Jacobson. He can be reached at wjacobson@leecentralcoastnews.com.

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