Avista Employees' Community Garden.
Can you donate garden produce to your community food pantry? Yes you can.
Remember the nursery rhyme about little Mary, Mary quite contrary and the status of her garden? It was full of silver bells, cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row. Gardens have changed some in the 300 years since the poem was first published. But one thing remains the same: they are a lot of work. But, the results are so satisfying.
In the case of the Avista Employees’ Green Thumb Community Garden, the hard work is shared among many helping hands, and the produce benefits those most in need in our community. A core group of dedicated Avista staff members have worked the raised-garden beds of the garden before and after work and on their lunch hours for about six years. Periodically, they are joined by students from Whitworth and Gonzaga universities, who perform community service work with the kind of joyful spirit you’d expect from college students. On the other end of the age spectrum, elder volunteers from Riverview Retirement Community bring the wisdom and patience of age to the bounty the garden produces year after year.
Each week, the harvest from the garden goes to Spokane’s Women and Children’s Free Restaurant, a non-profit agency that serves hot, nutritious evening meals for those who otherwise might not eat fresh produce or balanced fare. Every Friday through the summer, these families in need also receive fresh vegetables to cook in their own kitchen. So often these are the missing elements on their dinner tables, because they often don’t fit into a shrinking monthly food budget.
So, Mary, Mary might not be so contrary if she spent her time with community volunteers like those who work the Green Thumb Garden, and her results might be more satisfying than cockle shells. You can increase your garden satisfaction, as well. If you are finishing the harvest of your garden for the year, consider gleaning the last of the tomatoes, potatoes and those ever-present zucchinis or any other veggies you’ve nurtured and donating them to a food pantry in your community. Your green thumb will appreciate the generosity.