Community garden to provide for elderly, needy
JENNINGS — Volunteers are hoping a new community garden will soon provide fresh produce for the elderly and needy, as part of a food ministry program at First Baptist Church of Jennings.
A team effort with the First Baptist Church, Second Harvest Food Bank and Walmart has been providing canned goods, rice, beans and other staples for more than two years. Now organizers hope the garden will support the food distribution by helping provide fresh vegetables.
Mitchell and Autumn Faulk and their three children recently planted the small 25 x 25-foot organic garden in an empty corner just northwest of the church’s Family Life Center. Produce harvested from the garden will help those in time of need, Autumn Faulk said.
“When we learned about the food ministry here, we wanted to do something to help,” Faulk said. “We’d heard about the community gardens and how they worked in other countries and cities and thought why couldn’t we have it here.”
The Faulks, who have a large sustainable garden at their home in Morse, planted radishes, beets, green onions, carrots, kale, collard greens and green beans on the small plot in back of the church.
Next spring they hope to plant more radishes and green beans, along with eggplants and bell peppers to provide a bounty of food for those in need.
“I come out once a week to harvest the garden and check on things,” Faulk said.
She weeds, maintains and harvests the garden with the help of family members and parishioners.
She’s hoping the idea of an all natural garden will soon catch on.
“I hope people will learn how to eat real good food as opposed to processed foods,” she said.
Pastor Jeff Cook said the program is a win-win for local residents and the food bank and a way to reach out to the community.
“It helps provide good health and nutrition along with spiritual growth to those receiving the weekly food boxes,” he said.
“At the same time we are able to pray with the people and tend to their human and spiritual needs.”
T-shirts worn by dozens of volunteers helping to distribute the food boxes sums it up, Cook said. The t-shirts read, “It’s Not About the Box of Food.”
The food ministry helps to meet the needs of the community, build trust, share the gospel and connect people with the local church, he said.
It also helps church parishioners and volunteers who lend a hand each week, Cook said.
“The volunteers get joy out of serving and building relationships in the community which follows our core values and that is, it’s about the people,” he said. “The group we serve are part of our church family.”
Cook said the weekly food distribution program began two-and-a-half years ago with 150 clients and a handful of volunteers. It now reaches 400 clients a month with dozens of volunteers helping to sort, box and distribute the food.
Food is distributed from 3-5 p.m. every Monday in the church’s Family Life Center on Cary Avenue.
For more information or to volunteer call 337-824-3271.
Autumn Faulk and her children clean and sort fresh produce harvested from a new community garden at First Baptist Church of Jennings. Vegetables grown in the garden will supplement the church’s weekly food ministry to help those in times of need.
Barrett Freeland, 10, of Jennings checks on vegetables growing in a new community garden at First Baptist Church of Jennings. Vegetables grown in the garden will help provide fresh produce to the elderly and needy through the church’s weekly food ministry program.