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Community, Serving, and Patty-Pan Squash

pattypan 330This past spring, I expanded my role at CHRI to Community Relations. At the time, I thought of this as growing beyond just running the CHRI Fun Team and events, to working more closely with churches. Little did I know that Community Relations would be a 24/7 job that seeped into my personal life.

In February/March 2020, I was looking for a local community share garden when I came upon Mike’s Garden Harvest in Gloucester. They grow organic vegetables and deliver or offer pick up at the farm. I committed to a biweekly share for the year.

Upon arriving to pick up my first share, the farmer asked if I would like to walk around the garden and check out what his farm was about. He walked with me, told me his story and shared about his shortage of staff. I offered my business card for him to reach out whenever he would need assistance and informed him that I knew of an organization that would be grateful to help out.

The weekend didn’t even pass and he had contacted me asking for connection to the organization. I made the connection for him and Jericho Road Ministries, who was able to support his staffing need.

lydsfarmerbjarke 330I received another phone call about a week later asking for some support to get a field planted. I went out for the whole weekend to plant cucumber and went back the following few weekends to help plant broccoli and cauliflower. It was fun and a great time in the sun! The farmer wanted to thank me so he made dinner for myself, his hired hand, Bjarke, and himself. I showed up with kombucha and a vegan cheesecake as Bjarke is vegan. Bjarke showed up with beautiful flowers. We had a lovely dinner outside on the picnic table under the amazing moon.

A few weeks later the farmer contacted me letting me know he had bushels of patty pan squash, larger than anticipated. He did not know where he could share his abundance. I made some phone calls to foodbanks and restaurants but none were taking any patty pan. I made a connection with Sue at Ottawa Innercity Ministries and she accepted. They made many treats to share with their daily guests.

Coming out of the last several months, I feel greatly impacted by the sense of unity I’ve discovered. I’ve learned that looking for opportunities to get involved can lead to a greater community impact. It started with just wanting to help out on the farm, and now inner-city youth and veterans at Ottawa Innercity Ministries have some warm soup and coconut curry squash. Now, some of my friends at Jericho Road have volunteer work and maybe even a greater sense of purpose. Now, Mike’s Garden Harvest has some extra support for farm work. It’s a beautiful circle of life, a circle of community. We all have something to offer, and in service we find fulfillment.

 Many blessings come from God and Mike’s Garden Harvest.

lydia blog 100Lydia
CHRI Community Relations


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