“It’s been a church effort,” said pastor Tim Christopher. “We’ve had people that spent out of their own pockets to buy seeds.”
Crowe explained to church members that fresh produce is hard to come by for food banks, and some segments of the population are not used to cooking with canned vegetables.
Johnson teaches missions classes at the church on Wednesday nights, and she took the church’s youth to meet with Crowe and tour the Community Services facility because she wanted them to see missions as “hands on,” not just “something you learn about.”
“(The youth) were inspired. They were all ready to do something to help,” Johnson said.
In addition to the heavy youth involvement, all the church members have been finding ways to contribute to the garden. Those that are able do the weeding and the watering, and others have donated use of equipment or money. Now, Christopher said, the congregation hopes to get other members of the community, including other churches, interested in the project. The more people that are involved, the more vegetables the church can grow, and the more families they can serve.
Christopher said he hopes the garden will be an annual project, and will continue to grow each year, with the help of more volunteers.
“If we had another church involved, that would be more planting, more tending, more harvesting,” Christopher said.
For 16-year-old Chris Schochler, his first gardening experience has been “amazing.”
“Watching it grow like it did, it was really surprising,” Schochler said.
Even with current hot, dry conditions, everyone involved said they are confident the garden will be a success. With some extra watering and attention, Johnson said she expects to begin harvesting in mid-July.
“As soon as it comes in, we’re going to be picking it and taking it to Judy,” Johnson said.
Christopher said he hopes other churches and community members will be inspired to try bigger projects, or think of creative ways to help. Nothing is out of the realm of possibility with hard work and commitment.
“I hope other churches will see this (community garden) is a possibility. The potential to make it even bigger and greater is up to them,” Christopher said.
Contact Rachel Gilliam at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter, @ParsonsRachel.