The Garden of Giving's mission is to nourish
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Volunteers help The Garden of Giving plant seedlings to help supply local food pantries with nutritional fresh produce. They are, left to right, A.J. Sanz, Avery Gardner, David DeWitt, Raheem Pemberton, Bruce Palmenta, Kenneth Morris and The Garden's director, Tammy Graeber.
A lot of rainy weather has put the planting season a little behind schedule. Making up for lost time, The Garden of Giving recently had a "Planting Day." Several volunteers showed up to get their hands dirty and help Tammy Graeber with the mission of The Garden of Giving, which is to supply local supplemental food pantries with fresh produce.
David DeWitt from the Timberland store at The Crossings and three of his co-workers, A.J. Sanz, Avery Gardner and Raheem Pemberton, were there.
"We like working with local community service projects and being involved. Timberland encourages its employees by paying them 40 hours a year for volunteer service. We've helped at animal shelters, Habitat for Humanity, sold daffodils for The American Cancer Society and now here at The Garden of Giving," says DeWitt.
Bruce Palmenta is a working artist who decided to go back to school to get his Master's degree at Northampton Community College, Tannersville. A friend at school told him about The Garden of Giving and invited him to be a part of it. He thought it sounded like a great idea because he says he's a gorilla gardener.
Tammy says so far they've planted 600 basil, 300 eggplant, 300 green pepper, 250 tomato, 900 Romaine, 400 spinach, 2,000 onion and 700 cabbage plants.
"Delores Schuttert's horticultural Monroe County Technical Institute students plant the seeds and grow the seedlings for us," says Tammy.
She adds that ESSA bank gave The Garden a $5,000 grant for a 16' x 20' shed for storage, water, and tables and chairs for the volunteers. It has also received donations from Cramer's ($400), Dr. Jeffery Wert, DDS ($500), and the many hours of volunteer time from NCC, MCTI, RSVP, Penn State Harvest for Health program and various youth groups, church members and Scouts.
Tammy says she is very grateful to everyone including R.B. Smith & Sons, Jim, Jason and Glenn Smith, who volunteer their time to plow, till and compost, "All the necessary tasks needed for gardening. Last year they donated 7,400 ears of sweet corn."
If anyone would like to donate money, your donations are tax deductible. The Garden is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Or maybe you would like to donate your time as a volunteer. Also, the Garden of Giving is seeking talented and committed individuals to serve on its board of directors for two or three-year terms. Prior board experience is a plus, but not required. What is necessary is a commitment to the community and a desire to improve the lives of Monroe County residents. If you believe that your skills could benefit the Garden of Giving, contact Tammy at 570-402-1282 or email GardenOfGiving@gmail.com.