Dig Into Stafford’s Community Garden

Hunger Foundation Seeks Volunteer Tenders
Mar 14, 2018
File Photo by: Jack Reynolds

In so many ways at the first of spring, time in the vegetable garden is needed. In this case, it’s needed by a community that uses the bounty of a garden, as well as by people who could use a good springtime day in the dirt.

The chance for volunteers to get involved in the Stafford Community Garden will be explained at the first volunteer meeting of the year, 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 21 at the garden, located at 50 West Bay Ave., by Manahawkin Lake.

Said Rebecca Gee, garden chairperson for the Hunger Foundation of Southern Ocean: “People often ask what the Stafford Community Garden at Manahawkin Lake is about, what we do? Who gets the food?”

Their best example of an answer can be found in a note from an anonymous mother, she said.

“As a health conscious yet poor young family in Manahawkin, often counting change to afford groceries, I’d like to thank you for the garden,” the mother wrote. “We don’t have a car; so we are very lucky to be within walking distance, and often come by to collect some veggies and herbs. This service is so needed in the community and our four-year-old has learned so much in the garden, too.”

Gee continued, “We provide food for anyone in our community who chooses to visit. We come together as neighbors to see to it that those who might be struggling (may) have fresh produce, and maybe even learn about ways to grow foods on their own.”

The Reynolds family of Stafford Township and the Hunger Foundation of Southern Ocean have come together to provide support for the project. However, as foundation spokespersons say, “We need volunteers to make it work.”

“This year we are pleased that we have found a new volunteer coordinator and a master gardener to help us and our volunteers to make the growing season very successful, starting as soon as possible,” Gee reported.

All are welcome to the first volunteer meeting on March 21 to learn how to help.

“We would love to have anyone interested in participating with watering, planting, weeding, etc. attend and get to know each other. All volunteers are welcome, all ages, no limit. We would even love to have your group/organization/class become a part of our mission,” said Gee.

No gardening experience necessary. Just be willing to learn, to help, and maybe get a little dirty, the organizers invite.

Statistics say that in New Jersey one in five families is “food insecure,” meaning they don’t know when or from where their next meal is coming.

“Together we can change that,” pledges the Hunger Foundation of Southern Ocean. —M.S.

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