Redlands Daily Facts (CA)
August 11, 2012
Laurie Williams, Correspondent
REDLANDS – Helping hands were everywhere Saturday on a half-acre garden plot where volunteers grow vegetables and fruit for people in need. Some dug trenches and laid pipe for an irrigation system. Others cleared more ground to expand the garden’s capacity, and then planted vegetables.
All hands worked hard on an unusually hot Saturday, happy to boost Helping Hands Pantry in Redlands toward its goal of increasing the amount of fresh produce it can provide for people who need food.
Another goal meant a lot, too: The effort moves 16-year-old Scott Young along in his quest to become an Eagle Scout.
Scott and his brother Michael, 13, both members of Highland Troop 22, chose improvements to the Helping Hands Pantry garden on Judson Street as the focus of their Eagle projects.
“They are expanding our ability to provide food by about a third,” said Paul Dickau, executive director of Helping Hands. “We’re going to be able to harvest up to a ton and a half of crops — vegetables and fruit — per week.”
Michael Young did his land-clearing Eagle project in June.
Dickau said the fresh produce that volunteers grow on the site lets Helping Hands offer clients a healthful, organically grown alternative to the processed foods that are the mainstay of many food banks.
The pantry started its garden program on a smaller property on Chestnut Avenue four years ago, growing tomatoes in the summer and broccoli in the winter.
That garden still operates, but the half-acre Judson site offers a chance to grow more varieties of food. Crops planted now include peppers, chard, zucchini, cantaloupe and cucumbers.
Use of the land is a gift from the owner, Richard Cover of Redlands, who wanted the former site of a home for boys to keep serving the community.
Scott, a student at San Gorgonio High School in San Bernardino, said Dickau taught him everything he knows about installing irrigation systems.
“He’s like a contractor,” the Eagle candidate said. “He’s the master.”
But by Saturday, the student had absorbed enough of the master’s expertise to show volunteer helpers how to do the work. Dozens of friends, family members and fellow Scouts turned out to pitch in.
Anna Foutz of Highland worked with her children: Cub Scouts Duncan and Liam and future Girl Scouts Jennan and Tegan.
“It’s all about many hands,” she said.
And about leadership, said Stephanie Young, mother of Scott and Michael.
“Mothers, fathers, grandparents, the whole family and lots of friends are here to help,” she said, “but it’s the boy who leads out, who makes the lists, who gathers the tools and equipment, who puts it all together.”
She looked over at her husband, Jeffrey, wielding a shovel a few feet away.
“We are so proud of our boys,” she said.
©2012 Redlands Daily Facts. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.