Redlands Daily Facts (CA)
June 23, 2012
Kristina Hernandez, Staff Writer
REDLANDS – With a rake in hand, 13-year-old Michael Young was hard at work Saturday morning helping fix and organize a community garden with vegetables to help feed the homeless and low-income families. Michael, 13, of Highland, took on a leadership role, directing close to 50 volunteers where to plant mulch, where to install manure and which plants needed a bit more TLC.
The project is part of Michael’s Eagle Scout Service Project where members of the Boys Scouts of America (BSA) demonstrate the leadership of others while performing a project for the benefit of his community.
The community garden – at the 1100 block of Judson Street – is one of two gardens operated by the Helping Hands Pantry (HHP) of Redlands.
Vegetables are grown there to help feed the homeless and low-income families each week. It serves 7,000 to 10,000 people each week in Highland, San Bernardino, Redlands and some parts of Yucaipa.
Michael, who is a Life Scout with BSA Troop 22 in Highland, enlisted the help of volunteers with his church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and members of his family on Saturday, with many showing up at the site around 5:30 a.m.
Volunteers came and went, but Michael stayed to make sure the project was finished by the end of their scheduled six-hour day.
“I’ve been to the Pantry a couple of times. I’ve helped with the Pantry for two years or so through church doing service projects by bagging food for the homeless,” Michael said. “I’ve been looking for an Eagle Project…and I took on this by coming out a couple of times, saw the project and thought, ‘This looks great and it’s for a great benefit.'”
The site for the Judson Street Garden, also known as Victory Garden, is a half-acre that was previously an egg farm and later a boys home run by Richard Cover.
After the boys home closed, the property was donated to Helping Hands, which began developing it into a garden about a year and a half ago.
The Scout’s project will make necessary improvements to the garden, including expanding the property to harvest more vegetables, said Paul Dickau, executive director of HHP.
“We’re already using about two-thirds or so of the property and Michael’s work will ready things so we can grow more food up there and use more of the property,” Dickau said. “Right now, we are harvesting probably 1,500 pounds of vegetables a week…. It’s amazing what you can get with a half-acre if you do it right.”
Michael will be back at the garden in July with his brother, Scott, 16, to oversee the installation of an irrigation system and the planting of more vegetables.
“I think the Pantry is a great, great asset to the community and I believe (the garden) will help a lot more and make it better,” Michael said. “I hope people will notice it more and see the great benefit the Pantry is to the community.”
2012 Redlands Daily Facts. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.