#11: Meet Lindsay, Manager of Adult Self-Sufficiency Integrated Services (FACE), Johnson Elementary School
“One of the biggest challenges that our community faces is food insecurity, which has only been exacerbated by COVID-19. The funding we received through DUG has drawn us closer as a community. We were able to donate food to 25 of our highest-need families. We’ve been regularly distributing school lunches and weekend food bags to families that can’t leave their homes because they are sick with COVID-19.
With the grant funding from DUG, we employed 3 community gardeners who have all been significantly impacted by loss of work due to COVID and didn’t have money to pay rent. The funding is really helping their income. For a single parent with one child, $250 can pay for a month of groceries. It’s been a great opportunity for the parents to connect with their children, especially during a time when kids are feeling isolated. The parents talk about how much their children have learned from this experience. One little boy has been really into watching the radishes grow. His mom sent me a picture saying, “Oh my gosh, he’s begging me every single day to come to the garden so he can check on his radishes to see if they’re growing.”
All of the families at the Johnson Elementary Community Garden have incredible stories about how the garden supports them. One gardener is a single mom who just moved to the US in January. She was the sole source of income for her son, and then her hours got cut. Another gardener got involved because the school therapist recommended the garden as an activity to help her daughter who was struggling with the school changes due to COVID. The mom has become an avid gardener, and it’s been so cool to develop a trusting relationship with her. Before, even though her family really needed services, she was very hesitant to receive help. Now, she feels comfortable coming to talk to us, and if she needs something, she’ll ask.
It’s so impactful for our community to have access to healthy, nutritious food. In this way, DUG has shown its commitment to the community. To be able to garden with an organization that cares about giving back has been amazing for our community.”