An expanded community garden at Christ Lutheran Church in Hellertown was dedicated with a psalm reading and a prayer of thanksgiving Sunday, as rain moistened rows of neatly planted raised beds filled with vegetables that are helping to feed local families in need as well as local senior citizens.
Pastor Phil Spohn observed that the “Love Grows Here” garden has its roots in a smaller vegetable patch first planted by church council member Angela Drake about eight years ago.
With help from other volunteers–including church council president Lou Savant–it has expanded in size since last fall to include individual beds that are planted and maintained by church members for their personal use and filled with everything from tomatoes to turnips to kale.
The extra produce from those beds along with vegetables harvested from a separate row of beds is all donated, and helps provide access to nutritious veggies to people in the area who might not otherwise be able to afford it.
The entire garden is surrounded by tall fence posts and netting to help keep critters out, and there is a small shed in one corner, where supplies are stored and where volunteers can sort and clean the produce they harvest.
Some of the produce goes to local food banks at New Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lower Saucon Township and New Bethany Ministries in Bethlehem, where it helps to supplement the non-perishable items the food banks regularly distribute to families in need.
Volunteers from Christ Lutheran also deliver fresh produce to seniors who live at Saucon Manor and the Front Street Apartments in the borough.
Some of the produce is especially chosen for seniors due to their unique dietary needs, said Drake. For example, lower-acidity yellow tomatoes are easier for them to enjoy, and thus are the ones they try to take them.
All of the produce is grown without the use of pesticides and other chemicals.
Several local businesses and the Borough of Hellertown have contributed in various ways to the success of the community garden.
The borough helped deliver mulch to the site, and both Neighbors Home & Garden Center and Green Pond Nursery donated soil. Alan Kunsman Roofing & Siding donated roofing materials for the shed, Pastor Spohn noted in remarks he made at the garden’s dedication.
“It’s beautiful,” he said.