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A community garden for all

A church in Chuckatuck is offering free fresh produce to those in need, any day and at any time.

Members of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church at 220 Kings Highway planted a garden six weeks ago. The fresh corn, squash, tomatoes, green peppers and other vegetables from that garden go to a community produce stand set up in the parking lot.

Anyone can come by and take what they need, and the vegetables are replenished almost daily. Several members have even donated vegetables from their own gardens at home or bought from stores.

“It’s free for anybody who wants to stop and get some,” said David Goodrich, Wesley Chapel member and community services group organizer. “They pretty much get taken every day.”

Pastor Brandon Nichols encouraged the 40 members of his relatively small congregation to form groups, and eight members form the community services group.

“The idea for me was to empower the congregation to follow their vision of what they see fit to do for the community,” Nichols said.

The community garden is offered in tandem with a “Blessing Box” of canned goods and household supplies in the parking lot. Members plan to offer school supplies in the fall and winter clothes later in the year.

“I hope that by giving these away and putting stuff in the blessings box, they’ll feel that God is here,” said church member Brenda Bradshaw. “It takes people to do it with their own hands, and that’s what we have here.”

These efforts are done with members’ own funds, and they’re already looking to provide more vegetables to keep up with the demand.

“We simply can’t grow it fast enough, but I’m more than happy to buy it and just give it away,” said member and senior trustee Drexel Bradshaw.