by Lynn Hummel and Patricia Swagerty, Cy-Fair Women’s Club
Today, the Cy-Fair Helping Hands Community Garden provides more than 1,000 pounds of fresh vegetables for its food pantry clients. It was the Cy-Fair Women’s Club 2016 Adopt-A-Cause recipient of $10,000. After being built, it had its challenges due to the lack of volunteers to keep it up—plant and harvest the vegetables.
Janet, a Cy-Fair Helping Hands volunteer, and her husband, Ken, newly retired, with gardening experience, took on the challenge. It now thrives with volunteers and collaboration between other nonprofits. On Wednesdays, Cy-Fair Women’s Club members and their husbands volunteer. And on Sundays, the Young Men’s Service League and their moms volunteer. The volunteers assist with planting, upkeep, and harvesting the garden. The volunteer days were established in conjunction with the Cy-Fair Helping Hands pantry dates, Mondays and Thursdays.
Ken is also a volunteer at the Reach Unlimited Greenhouse. Ken, volunteers, and the Reach clients jump started the Greenhouse after the pandemic. Now the Reach Unlimited Greenhouse is the starting point for the plants at Cy-Fair Helping Hands Community Garden. The plants are grown from seeds and then transplanted at the Garden. The plants not used at the Garden are sold along with flowering, succulents, and other plants by the Greenhouse. Watch social media for when the Greenhouse is at Farmers and Vendor markets.
In 2021, the Garden harvested a total of 1,958 pounds of eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, okra, zucchini, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, cucumbers, onions, basil, tomatillos, radishes, lettuce, kale, brussel sprouts, cilantro, chard and potatoes. From January thru September 2022, 1,225 pounds were harvested. The Garden has been transitioned to the winter vegetables. Okra is done and the remaining beds will be planted in the next week or two. The plan is to get everything harvested before the end of January 2023 when a deep freeze could hit again.
It takes a village. This collaboration of volunteers and nonprofits make it a win-win for all. For more information, Cy-Fair Helping Hands (www.cyfairhelpinghands.org) and the Reach Unlimited Greenhouse (www.reachunlimited.org) are always in need of volunteers. Cy-Fair Women’s Club members volunteer and assist a variety of nonprofits in our community. To join or learn more about Cy-Fair Women’s Club by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.