Feed the Hungry planting seeds for education and community growth

By: Joel Schipper Email
By: Joel Schipper Email

Have you ever thought about starting your own garden but didn't know exactly where to begin or how to do it? What about a community or unity garden that not only benefits your family but also your neighbors?

‘Feed the Hungry’ in Michiana is planting the seed for both education and community growth by giving away vegetable and flower seeds to anyone who wants them. They say growing your own food saves money and also promotes healthy eating.

On Tuesday, Goodwill located at 1805 W. Western Avenue in South Bend on the city’s west side began tilling the soil for its brand new Unity Garden.

With the snap of a ribbon, a shovel of dirt, and a few flicks of the wrist, the project began.

"We do the unity garden so it's for everybody! The community garden is just for people in that community,” said Calvin Jones, a Goodwill volunteer who uses Goodwill’s job hunting service. He and another volunteer, Dante Gentry, spearheaded the project.

"We walked in the building she put us in charge, I guess because we the only two dudes that's there. It's all females," Jones said.

"They saw that we had the potential to try and get this done the right way," Gentry said. "And we're always trying to get things done the right way so we don't have to do it over again."

The two are a perfect pair that is using the garden to learn new skills and bolster their resume.

"They help you find jobs, but then again you're doing volunteer work to make up for that benefit,” Jones said.

Eventually, the two also hope to establish new roots in the community beyond just a garden that feeds the town.

"South Bend got 21 gardens alone, so and we in charge of most of them gardens and it’s a big responsibility, but somebody's got to do it and I'm glad they picked me and Dante,” Jones said.

"This first one that we're dealing with we're going to make sure that this one is correct so we can start on the other ones, too," Gentry said.

Dante and Calvin’s relationship digs much deeper than most jobs, even though they started working less than 2 months ago.

"He's like my brother,” Gentry said. "We have so much in common and we get along great. He’s like one of my best friends."
"Me and Calvin are trying to figure out how we can start a restaurant because we both love to cook,” Gentry said. "It's just a big family I guess.”

The seed giveaway and unity gardens also serve an educational purpose for local students at Washington High School in South Bend. They’re helping start some of the seedlings in their greenhouse and those will be transplanted into the gardens later on this spring when the weather gets warmer.

There is also a garden at the South Bend Center for the Homeless. To learn more about unity gardens and a list of where they’re all located in the area, click on the Big Red Bar.

Here are the locations where you can go to get the free vegetable seeds, while supplies last, and the hours that they’re available:

Catholic Charities
1817, Miami St.
South Bend, IN (574)-234-3111
Mon-Thurs 8am-5pm
Friday 8 a.m.-noon

Voice Ministries
1610 S Nappanee St
Elkhart, IN (574) 970-9240
Tues-Thurs, 9-11am, 12-2pm

Broadway Christian Parish-UMC
1412 South Carroll St.
South Bend, IN (574)-289-0333
Mon- Thurs 9-10:30am

Salvation Army
303 Chapin St
South Bend, IN (574) 233-9471
Mon, Tues, Wed, and Fri, 9am-12pm
1026 Dodge Ave, Mishawaka, IN
Thurs, 9:00-12:00pm

Christian Center Church
530 E. Ireland
South Bend, IN (574) 291-3292
Mon-Fri 9am-4pm

Depot MCC Thrift Shops
1013 Division St., Goshen, IN
Hours are: M-F 9-5, Sat 9-4
(574) 291-3292

Community Church Services
907 Oakland Ave
Elkhart, IN
Mon-Fri. 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

College Park Missionary Church
2014 Liberty Dr
Mishawaka IN (574) 255-5338
Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm

Klug’s Produce, booth 112
Farmers Market, South Bend IN
Saturdays 7am–2pm

Faith Mission Thrift Store
1017 South Main Street
Elkhart, IN 46516 (574)293-3406 ext/401
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm

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