GARDEN CITY, Ga. (WSAV) — Five community gardens will be getting an upgrade to increase access to fresh food to local neighborhoods.
Center Parc Credit Union donated $7,500 to five Savannah-area gardens to kick off a new initiative to aid local programs that support community health.
Garden City Homestead Association, Employability, Coastal Heritage Society (Frogtown) Garden, West Broad Street YMCA and Morningstar Arts Creative Garden each received $1,500 Thursday.
Center Parc Credit Union organizers say they created the community gardens program to not only help families financially — but also in their health and wellness.
“Gardening adds beautification to the neighborhood, food, produce and even physical activity. Now, during COVID, it’s even more important because we have well over 30 million individuals who have lost their jobs,” Community Development Liaison for Center Parc Credit Union Donna Williams said.
“Our social responsibility we feel to the community is to engage, and it just makes sense to engage through community gardens,” she added.
The nonprofit financial institution will be opening two new branches in Savannah and Pooler this fall.
“Although we created the Community Gardens program before the arrival of COVID-19, we are keenly aware that more families need help with their basic needs, such as food, due to the economic impact of the pandemic,” said President and CEO Chuck Head. “Unfortunately, even after the virus is contained, the economic impact is likely to linger.”
Head says Center Parcs Community Gardens program will be the cornerstone of its local presence to support the community’s well-being beyond financial services.
“We plan on continuing to provide awards on a monthly basis through the end of 2020 and beyond,” Williams said. “We also plan to open our first Community Parc garden to serve the community in 2021. It is our goal to help members flourish.”
The first nonprofit organizations to receive the $1,500 funding are:
- Garden City Homestead Association. The mission of this organization is to give the gift of the harvest to the community. Its volunteers support the farming and upkeep of a quarter-acre garden, which is expected to produce a harvest in August 2020. The group is also working with local schools to teach students how to grow a garden.
- Employability. The Employability gardens are used as part of the organization`s programming designed to introduce adults living with disabilities to marketable job skills. Select adult clients work in the gardens and use the produce and herbs to support the in-house catering services, which are also staffed by adults living with disabilities.
- Coastal Heritage Society (Frogtown) Garden. Frogtown Garden is an organic sensory exhibit that helps children understand life cycles, where food comes from, and explore using all five senses. Here, many beautiful and lush plants are grown, each with its own fragrance and colors.
- West Broad Street YMCA. One of several Ys in the Savannah area, the West Broad Street location offers a variety of afterschool programs and distributes free produce and meals to children and community members.
- Morningstar Arts Creative. Established in 1989, Morningstar Cultural Arts is a 5013 non-profit that has worked on over 950 cultural arts, community, and environmental projects. In 2021, Morningstar Cultural Arts will fuse culture and creativity to form Morningstar Arts Creative. The mission of Mstar Arts (Morningstar Cultural Arts and Morningstar Creative Arts) is the same as the initial establishment, with the inclusion of adding in the creative process and preservation projects as another journey to the mission.
Williams says applicable nonprofits are encouraged to apply for future Center Parc Credit Union sponsorships on their website.