Gardens of Compassion
The Gardens of Compassion is a community gardening initiative created through a partnership between Community Missions and St. James United Methodist Church in Niagara Falls. The Gardens of Compassion has three primary goals:
- Grow healthy fresh food for vulnerable populations and teaching about good nutrition and healthy eating;
- Understanding our role as individuals and a community in Caring for Creation (approached through various cultural perspectives);
- Break down the stigma around mental illness by integrating volunteers from the general community with participants in Community Missions Mental Health programs.
How It Works
- Primary Gardening Day- Each Wednesday from 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM during growing season volunteers come to tend 8 raised bed gardens, share refreshments, and be part of periodic presentations on Gardening, Nutrition, Caring For Creation, and sometimes even a musical performance!
- Daily Gardening- Volunteer gardeners sign up for shifts to water the gardens between Primary Gardening Days. Volunteers can come at whatever times work best with their personal schedules.
- Harvest and Distribution- As crops come in during the season, they will be harvested and put to use in at the Missions' Community Soup Kitchen and in the Little Wonders Early Childhood Development Center at St. James. All volunteer gardeners, including those with Community Missions' Mental Health programs will also share in the produce.
Getting involved is easy. Volunteers
from the general public can sign up below, through the VolunterWNY.org website,
by email, by phone, or by coming to the Public Information Session held at the
beginning of the project each year. Registration for Volunteers for 2016 can register at any time during the growing season. The project needs a maximum of 20
community volunteers. Volunteers from the Little Wonders family can ask any Little Wonders Staff how to get involved.
We know not all volunteers will be available for the primary gardening day (each Wednesday 3:30-4:30). Volunteers are welcome to come at other times, even evenings and weekends. We do, however, ask that all volunteers register before they come to the gardens.
For this initiative to be successful, we look for volunteers that can be very committed. There are two reasons for this:
- For the gardens to grow successfully, they will need daily watering. It is very important that volunteers sign up to come for additional days (beyond the regular Wednesday session) throughout the growing season to help with this.
- For those that wish to come during the Wednesday gardening time from 3:30- 4:30PM, we ask that gardeners be as consistent as possible. This is the time frame when clients from Community Missions Mental Health programs will be present. For the project to be true integrative community event for them, members of the general public need to be present. We understand you may not be able to be there at that time, but if you can it will mean a lot for the program.
For more information please contact:
Rev. Mark Breese
Phone: 716-285-3403 x2259 (if registering to volunteer and you voicemail, please provide your full name, address, phone# and email)
Additional Contact Information
St. James United Methodist Church
4661 Porter Road Niagara Falls, NY 14305
Church email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gardens of Compassion 2016
Please note that volunteers will be required to sign a media release to participate in this initiative.
By The Numbers...
In 2016, Community Missions provided:
• 11,104 nights of shelter
• 89,366 meals
• 6,744 individuals with clothing
• 2,295 care days in Youth Services
• 46,888 care days in Recovery Services
• 73,994 care days in Housing Services
• 182 opportunities for Faith Development