More than Just Money and Pounds

Dear Myra and All Garden of Eden Volunteers,
Your garden never ceases to amaze!
Not only are you providing fresh, nutritious produce to people in need ….
You are offering learning experiences for children – the next generation of gardeners and philanthropists . .
You are creating friendships among the gardeners . . .
You enrich the lives of people in retirement and newcomers to our tiny part of the planet.
Congratulations on jobs well done.
From all of us at the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry to all of you!
The above email, recently received from Judy Berkowitz, Director of the HKJFP, sums up our 2017 year. Our tiny garden at the JCC grew more than two tons of food for the food pantry. The value of the food grown was worth more than $10,000. According to Stephanie Rhea, volunteer director of the JCC, more than 1,909 volunteer hours were dedicated to the garden. As the United Way considers a volunteer time to be worth $23.08 an hour, our volunteers put in more than $44,000 of time into the garden supplying the hungry with food.
These numbers show the value of The Garden of Eden. A few thousands of dollars invested in the garden each year results in huge dividends regarding the worth of food grown. The money spent on seedlings, seeds, tools, irrigation, netting, trellises and more is well spent.
Our accomplishments this year was greater than the weight or the dollar amount worth of food. For the first time we successfully worked with the summer campers at the J’s Camp Baer and touched some lives as a few campers returned week after week to work and learn from the garden. We will return next year. Additionally, we are popular with the Association of Retarded Citizen’s youth as many of them choose the garden to learn work skills. Youth from area synagogues enjoy coming to harvest and learn about our garden. The J’s After-School Gang’s exuberance and enthusiasm for the garden is unbounded. On their own, they raised money for our garden several months ago.
Our garden is also a place where friendship grow and flourish. Without our beloved friends at Covenant Place we could not have done as well. Their devotion to our garden matches their own and they willingly do all that is asked. In addition, our many friends at Gateway Greening are so willing to assist in any way when they are asked. In fact, they don’t even wait to be asked! Communication flows freely each way.
Our garden was featured in The Light quite a number of times this year. It was
fun to turn to the Community Page and see the pictures of groups and individuals having fun in our garden. In addition, we are now one of the blogs featured on the Jewish Federation website.
Despite a few challenges, 2017 turned out to be a very good year. With your support, our volunteers and friends, we will continue to face the opportunities and challenges of 2018.

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