Call for Help

About the Gardens of Compassion

(How to get involved)

(Volunteer Registration Form)

(See our Wish List)

Visit Our Gardens of Compassion Facebook Page

 (COVID-19 Safety Protocols Are Practiced At The 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:

  1. Grow healthy fresh food for vulnerable populations and teaching about good nutrition and healthy eating
  2. Break down the stigma around mental illness by integrating volunteers from the general community with participants in Community Missions Mental Health programs
  3. Understanding our role as individuals and a community in Caring for Creation (approached through various cultural & religious perspectives).

How It Works

  • Group Gardening Day- Each Monday (excluding holidays), beginning June 3, 2024, from 10:00 AM - 11:45 AM during growing season volunteers come to tend 16 raised bed gardens, share refreshments, and be part of presentations and discussions 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. 

How Do I Get Involved?

Getting involved is easy. Volunteers from the general public can sign up below or simply come to the first Group Gardening Day (June 3, 2024) or coming to the Public Information Session  held at the beginning of the project each year. Volunteers can register at any time during the growing season. Volunteers from the Little Wonders families can ask any Little Wonders Staff how to get involved.

We know not all volunteers will be available for the primary gardening day (each Monday mornings from 10-11:45). Volunteers are welcome to come at other times, even evenings and weekends. However, all volunteers must register and receive confirmation of their registration before they come to the gardens. Please contact us if you would like to help with garen care throughout the week. Use our volunteer contact form to let us know you'd like to help.

For this initiative to be successful, we look for volunteers that can be very committed. There are two reasons for this:

  1.  For the gardens to grow successfully, they will need daily watering. It is very important that we do have volunteers sign up to come for additional days (beyond the regular Monday session) throughout the growing season to help with this.
  2. For those that wish to come during the Monday gardening time from 10:00 AM - 11:45 AM, 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 truly integrative community opportunity for Community Missions clients, 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. It allows for our clients to get to know you and for you to get to know them. That is how healthy community integration happens for anyone... making the time for it and coming with an open heart.

For more information please contact:
Rev. Mark Breese
Community Missions
Phone: 716-285-3403  x2259 (if registering to volunteer by phone and you reach voicemail, please provide your full name, address, phone# and email. Spell out everything!)

Additional Contact Information

St. James United Methodist Church
4661 Porter Road Niagara Falls, NY 14305
(716) 297-6421
Church email:


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Gardens of Compassion Tuesday - Sunday Watering Registration

If you would like to help keep the gardens watered, please use this form: Watering Volunteer

If you would like to help keep the gardens watered, please use this form: Watering Volunteer

A great way to help with this vital need for the success of the gardens is to do it a group. Have you church, business, service group, scout troop, etc., sign up for a specific day of the week for a whole month or the whole season (June - Mid-October). Then you set up for one or two of your group members to come out on that day each week. This spreads the work around and give everyone in your group a chance to participate. I usually takes about 40 minutes for one person to water the gardens. Later in the season when there is weeding to do, your volunteers can help with that as well.

If you would like to sign up to volunteer in other ways at the Gardens please fill out our full Volunteer Registration Form



By The Numbers...

In 2023, Community Missions provided:

12,108 nights of shelter

178,696 meals

2,780 individuals with clothing

3,562 care days in Youth Services

43,388 care days in Recovery Services

72,302 care days in Housing Services

467 reflections & resources for Faith Development


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