Special to the Journal
Through the generosity of numerous volunteers and community donors, the “Food for a Thousand” vision has blossomed into a reality at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, with an initial harvest already conducted and distributed through a local food bank.
Youngsters in the church’s “Stuck in the Middle” program for children and youth helped with the first gathering after morning services on May 19. The result was several grocery bags stuffed with Swiss chard, lettuce, radishes, and collards and other greens. The produce was delivered to the Neighbors in Need food pantry the following Monday morning.
Coming soon from 18 raised garden beds will be squash and peppers and expected later in the summer are tomatoes, corn, okra, watermelon, and other garden favorites.
“Food for a Thousand” at St. Patrick’s is a “signature ministry” to grow healthy food for local feeding ministries and families in need. Coordinated by Juby Phillips of Albany, and with whole-hearted support from St. Patrick’s rector the Rev. Jay Weldon and other members of the parish, it has taken root and is growing, with ideas already being explored for additional outreach.
The food ministry would not be possible without the participation of donors from the community at large. Phillips said, “It really is unbelievable the generosity found within our community.” She urged support for the “donors and angels” that have generously supported the “Food for a Thousand” ministry. They include, so far, Brenda Gray, organizer and visionary; Chester Averett (A-1 Painting), construction of raised-bed boxing and delivery of wood, products, and seeds; Steve and Vickie Collins (Lawn Barber Nursery), garden plan, soil, and plants both vegetable and herbs;; Keith Gates (Short & Paulk building supplies), lumber, metal conduits, and screws for 18 raised beds; Steven Stocks, tractor work for bed preparation; Steve Stocks and Bruce Lee, compost; Roger and Barbara White (Yoga on Pine), landscaping fabric; Ken Phillips, tree service and wood chips; Mark Gavin (Mark’s Greenhouse), irrigation equipment; Manuel Gonzales, installation of the irrigation system; and Chuck Knight (Knight’s Appliance), a freezer for harvest storage.