Old Windham Church plants Seeds of Hope in a new garden
As churches in Simcoe, Ontario banded together to help fight local poverty, Old Windham United Church wanted to do their part. Thanks to a grant from this spring’s Seeds of Hope granting season, they can now supply food to hungry families in Norfolk County.
The grant went towards purchasing construction materials for two large, raised vegetable garden beds, measuring 24’ long by 4’ wide. Other materials, such as soil and seeds, were donated by other local companies. After receiving the grant in spring, the congregation of Old Windham United Church built the gardens and quickly planted seeds.
Over the course of the summer, volunteers watered, weeded, and cared for the growing vegetables. All members of the church community came together to care for the beds. Neighbours also became interested in what was happening at the church after seeing volunteers working in the gardens.
The project was made in partnership with Church Out Serving, a local community group that organizes local churches to coordinate anti-poverty initiatives in Simcoe. When the vegetables were harvested and collected, Old Windham United Church packed them up in laundry totes and sent them to Church Out Serving to be sorted and sent to families in need in Simcoe and Norfolk County.
Volunteers at Old Windham were incredibly pleased with how the first year of the program went. Not only did the program offer a way for the church to help their community, but it also created opportunities for the church to come together in a new way. “We had people help with the gardens that may not have helped with other projects in our church,” they told us. “The harvesting was completed by old and young alike.”
The beds themselves were important to the program as well. Even though the church had a plan in case they didn’t receive funding, they were incredibly thankful for the Seeds of Hope grant and the building materials they were able to purchase as a result. “Because they were raised beds, the volunteers were able to harvest the produce without having extremely sore backs!”
The program was such a success that Old Windham United Church already has plans to expand their gardens from two beds to four next year. They wrote: “the interest was amazing, and we feel since we have the space we might as well use it to the best of our ability.” “Thank you so much to the United Church Foundation for allowing us to be able to afford to complete this project!”