Church grows garden for community Posted September 3, 2014 by nrca

Off

Posted: Friday, August 29, 2014 6:00 am

By Travis Williams travis.williams@nullroanoke.com 381-1643

Community Garden, TRAVIS WILLIAMS | The Roanoke Times

Community Garden, TRAVIS WILLIAMS | The Roanoke Times

BLACKSBURG — Hannah Kent spent much of a recent Saturday morning helping with her favorite garden task.

“Picking food,” the 4-year-old said of her work.

Hannah and her family are among a handful of members from Blacksburg and Christiansburg wards of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have spent time working in the garden located on the church’s Blacksburg property.

Katie Kent said the garden, which covers more than 4,000 square feet, had been divided up and used by families in past years but typically had a lot of leftover growing space.

“So I thought, let’s just make a service garden and donate the food to those in need,” Kent said.

As of Aug. 23, the group reported a total harvest of 130 pounds of green beans, 75 pounds of potatoes, 40 pounds of squash and 75 pounds of squash and peppers, all of which was donated to Blacksburg’s Interfaith Food Pantry.

Andrea Muscatello, one of the pantry’s primary coordinators, said the fresh produce had been much appreciated during a summer in which they witnessed an all-time low in donations.

“It’s a real blessing to us, it really is,” she said.

Pantry director Fredda Cromer said the pantry has more than 1,300 eligible Blacksburg-area families and routinely serves between 800 and 850 families per month.

Potential recipients are screened for eligibility by New River Community Action in Christiansburg.

Church volunteer Toni Hendricks said the garden effort is very much in line with the priority the faith places on service.

“Our churches are big on being involved in their communities through various ways, so I think this is a good way to do that,” Hendricks said.

With their inaugural growing season soon winding down, Kent said they plan to run the garden again next year and would like to add help from people of all kinds of faiths and from the community.

“I think working together would be a good thing for the community,” she said.

Click here to view article at Roanoke.com