Growing Healthy Children
“Therefore said he unto them, the harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2
There’s a lot of excitement in Huntington about the “Growing Healthy Children” gardening project. The Young People’s Department (YPD) and the Mary F. Handy Women’s Missionary Society (WMS) of Young chapel AME Church partnered on a community garden that involves children and adults.
The project is providing far more than vegetables. Gardening is an indispensable part of early education. The children learn coordination, partnering and sustainability. They actually grow food in their community, something many have never done. Children and adults share responsibility and enjoy the pleasure of a caring community.
It truly is a community project. Angela Kargul, Marshall University’s Master Gardener, donated her time, talent, and starter plants for the garden. G&G Nursery, a local agricultural employer donated the soil for three (3) raised garden beds behind the church.
Members of the church Trustee Board built the raised beds with donated wood. The children decorated the beds to make them look like real beds.
It is also a caring project. Garden produce goes to a nearby day care center for low-income children. Snack packs of garden vegetables will go to a nearby day care for children to take home with them over the weekend. Children attending the Ebenezer Day Care Center will join our YPD’ers for fun hands-on gardening experience. Children who have limited access to fresh food will receive garden-grown produce via the “Pak-A-Snak” program.
The students and missionaries worked diligently to ensure that the seeds and starter plants were planted and watered. One young man taught a gardening workshop for the young children at the WV Conference Annual Sunday School meeting. Isaiah Shook
is working on a Junior Master Gardener certification, coordinating with the Marshall University Master Gardener program.
This project is a labor of love. The organizers are grateful for the support of the Third Episcopal District leaders, Bishop and Supervisor Young; Presiding Elder Alton B. Dillard; WV Conference YPD Director Janie
Claytor-Woodson; local YPD Director,
Le Etta Nicks; YPD President, Isaiah Shook; Mary F Handy WMS members – Florence Angel Plante, Geneva Jewett Sparkle Wade, Amanda Fain, Pastor Kary Williams and the Young Chapel Church Trustees. All have been instrumental in turning a dream into a reality and we are grateful for all of your efforts and contributions.
Based on interviews and writing by Teresa N. Crisp, Mary F. Handy WMS President