Helen’s story

Dear Santa,

As the weather gets colder and my mind turns from long summer days to cold winter nights, it’s hard to imagine focusing on anything other than Christmas this time of year.  But at The Salvation Army, we are continually looking forward to programs and services that will increasingly meet the needs of our community.

So, as hard as it may be to think about for you Santa (as you get your sleigh ready and sip your hot chocolate), I am thinking about vegetables, sunflowers, soil, and the joy gardening will bring to our area as I help get the Red Shield Community Garden ready to enter into it’s third season of growth this coming spring.

Gardening has so many benefits for the community- beautification, neighborhood pride, healthy nutrition, etc.  and this garden will not only provide food for the gardener but will ultimately also address a root of poverty (pun intended).  Sounds like a lofty goal, doesn’t it? But this garden has a vision to provide education, tools, and skills to lower income families and seniors so that they are able to improve their situations.  Let’s face it — growing plants feeds people; teaching people how to grow plants provides self-sufficiency and empowers them to make a change for the better.  That is why the garden’s vision is summed up in the phrase: “Helping People, Teaching People, Feeding People”.  Did I mention that the excess produce will be used in our food pantry and at other local food banks too?

So many great organizations and businesses have partnered with us to make this new service available to people in Williamsport. And the best part (for me at least) is that you don’t even have to be a natural green thumb — that is why we are having workshops to help teach the participants how to grow their plants.

Santa, my wish is that local volunteers will help maintain the garden or teach participants how to get the best produce for their labor.  Feel free to drive by (or fly Santa) the garden and watch the progress — it’s located at 724 Park Ave. beside the new YMCA or you can “like” our page on Facebook at Williamsport Red Shield Community Garden.

Hope you can join us- sincerely,

Helen