For Darla Stewart and other Waverly First United Methodist Church members, a garden project has become a hands-on mission.
Stewart, an administrative assistant at the church, said the garden was planted this year to grow fresh food for the community and to raise funds for an overseas project through the Foods Resource Bank.
Stewart said the children who attend the church’s Sunday School program have been working on the garden to grow peas, lettuce, tomatoes and other vegetables. An acre of sweet corn was recently added.
This is teaching the children about charity, Stewart said. “It’s not just throwing money at something,” she said. “It’s actually doing mission [work] with their hands and their hearts to help others.”
An estimated 795 million people worldwide — about 1 in 9 — do not have enough food to live an active and healthy life. Statistics say almost 13 percent of the population in developing countries is undernourished.
Stewart said one of the church’s congregation members came up with the idea after her father’s involvement with the organization. “We decided to do that garden and just got it planted this year,” Stewart said.
She said the church thought it would be a good program for the younger members of its congregation. “They love it and they’ve been talking about how fun it is,” Stewart said. “They are pretty involved. They like going down during Sunday School and planting and weeding.”
A majority of the supplies for the garden came from donations from the community. Stewart said the committee has narrowed down the list of about 50 projects through the Food Resources Bank to four. The children from the Sunday School program will be making the final decision on which program to choose. The program choices vary, but all teach sustainable farming, techniques and nutrition. Each also has a component specific to the area, such as coffee production or clean water access. The children will be picking the project at a youth group meeting Sunday.
While the vegetables are still growing, Stewart said she believes they will be ready for sale in about three weeks. She said she hopes the children realize what they do matters.
“I hope they take away that even a little community and a small area such as ours can help others,” Stewart said.
By Samantha McDaniel-Ogletree. See the original article published by Journal Courier.