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Sharing the season’s bounty

Gardeners grow produce for local food pantry

Created date

October 23rd, 2012

Members of the Ann s Choice garden club spent part of the summer growing vegetables to donate to a local food pantry. At the Erickson Living community in Bucks County, Pa., avid gardeners Betty Sykes and Ruth Kurtz proposed planting a few of the community s unused, untended garden spaces with produce for the Coordinating Council Emergency Food Cupboard (CCEFC). General services employee Ed Shreiner also got involved. He helped Betty, Ruth, and club president Charley Gysi with the pantry plantings this spring and spent evenings and weekends tending two pantry spaces. I got involved because I thought it should be done, he says. Residents who didn t tend pantry spaces donated produce from their personal gardens.

Caring citizens

That sense of caring citizenship lies at the heart of the Ann s Choice mission: We share our gifts to create communities that celebrate life. Employees and residents alike are empowered to actively engage their time and talents for the betterment of the larger community. CCEFC president Carolyn Sanford welcomed the produce because its number of clients continues to grow. From June 2011 through June 2012, it served 767 families. Whatever vegetables Betty brought on her weekly delivery were gone by day s end. No other group donated produce. This year s poor growing season limited those donations, but Betty and Ruth expect better yields next year. Sharing their bounty strikes a chord with the gardeners. I m not wealthy, but I don t want for anything so I m fortunate, says Betty. It only takes a little physical activity, nothing else, for me to do this. Ruth agrees: The way the economy is, people need the food, and we love to garden. The CCEFC serves people in Warminster, Warrington, Horsham, Hatboro, Richboro, and Willow Grove. The Cupboard never receives more food than it can give out, Sanford says.

Lifestyle provides time for sharing

Ruth doubts she would be involved in a project like this if she still lived in her former home in Elverson because she would have homeowner demands on her time. But at Ann s Choice she enjoys one-level, maintenance-free living. My apartment is much easier to take care of, and I don t have to think about plumbing or heating problems, she says. If something happens, I just make a phone call, and the maintenance staff takes care of it at no charge. I m free to get involved in things. It s the same for Betty. In Bensalem, she worried in winter that her old furnace might give out, and in summer she wished she had air conditioning. Now she comes in from gardening to the air-conditioned comfort of her home at Ann s Choice. She and Ruth each have a Harrison floor plan, a corner apartment style that boasts a bay window an ideal spot for indoor plants. In fact, with its windowsill gardens, community garden spaces, lush landscaped grounds, and a beautiful community park right next door, Ann s Choice is a plant lover s paradise.