Last fall Lake Christian Ministries received a grant from Rotary Club District 7570 and the Rotary Club of Smith Mountain Lake to create indoor and outdoor produce display areas at Lake Christian Ministries.
Colleen McNulty, LCM’s food pantry manager, said food pantry volunteers have always wanted “farmers’ market” type produce displays to showcase fresh produce and bakery items.
“Our goal is to encourage our neighbors to add fresh produce to their diets to improve nutrition and build good health,” McNulty said. “There are very few food pantries that can offer fresh produce to their clients. LCM is blessed to have a partnership with the SML Giving Gardens, Franklin County Master Gardeners and the Gleaners Network that collectively supplies over 9,000 pounds of fresh produce annually. We have longed to have indoor and outdoor display areas to encourage our neighbors to fill a bag with the produce and take recipes to make delicious nutritious meals.”
The Rotary Club of Smith Mountain Lake, which created the Giving Gardens several years ago to support the area’s food insecurity, made a request to the Rotary Club for a grant for $2,700. The club then matched those funds for a total of $5,400 to underwrite the project.
With the club’s support, A Garden of Giving now has rolling shelving units and carts, produce bins, display baskets, an outdoor display site, canvas awnings and a mural wall created by artist Lisa Floyd and other volunteers.
A Garden of Giving will be unveiled at LCM this summer.
“We would like to thank the Rotary Club of SML for underwriting this special addition to our center and for supplying volunteer labor for the project,” Jane Winters, LCM’s executive director said.
“A big thank you also goes out to project leaders, Colleen McNulty (LCM food pantry volunteer manager) and Linda Caskie (LCM and Giving Garden volunteer), and to the following individuals and businesses who donated services and skills to minimize costs and make the most of the project funding: commercial artist Lisa Floyd, Carolyn and Bill Koontz, Larry Durey, Langley Weber and Chandler Concrete.”
Winters said fresh produce will be supplied for A Garden of Giving by a collaborative effort among the Smith Mountain Lake Giving Gardens, Franklin County Master Gardeners, Society of St. Andrews Gleaning Network, Food Lion, Kroger, Walmart of Bedford, Bimbo Bakeries as well as area gardeners and volunteers.