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Church harvests spirit of giving with garden

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POSTED: August 31, 2013 10:00 a.m.
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Some homegrown okra gets cut fresh from the garden at Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church in Richmond Hill.

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This spring, members of Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church started and tended a small vegetable garden. The idea was to give to the community by giving what sprang from the soil to Way Station Food Pantry in Richmond Hill.
The first planting didn’t go as planned because animals came and dug up the seeds at night. So church members replanted, then did the work necessary to turn seeds into vegetables.
Perhaps what came next didn’t turn out as planned, either. Some plants grew and thrived and bore fruit, others didn’t.
Still, they’ve lately been able on a weekly basis to harvest and donate small amounts of okra, green beans and peppers to the pantry, where they’re “very welcomed,” Way Station Director Sara Thomasson said.
Over the phone, it sounds as if Thomasson is smiling as she speaks.

God’s work, their hands
The idea of a garden may have taken root this spring, but church members added an irrigation system when they built Spirit of Peace a few years ago on 4 acres of donated land off Highway 144 near Henderson Park.
“We had the land and we had the irrigation system,” said Linda Shonka, who had the idea. “A garden seemed like the perfect thing to do.”
It also fit in with a Lutheran Church theme — “God’s work. Our hands.”
“This dovetails very nicely with that,” Shonka said, also noting work at the Spirit of Peace vegetable garden has been by hand.
Church members, including a sizeable number of the church’s youth, used hoes and muscles to turn over soil and establish the garden, which Shonka estimates to be about 10 by 15 feet. It was small by design.
“We didn’t want to over do it our first time out. I think we’ll probably make it bigger next year,” she said. “We were able to manage this size really well and keep it weeded and taken care of, so we should be able to add to it a little bit.”

Read more in the Aug. 31 edition of the News.

 

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