Rotary helps rebuild Chesco Food Bank garden

Greater West Chester Sunrise Rotary helps rebuild Food Bank Garden at Barclay Friends

What makes a garden grow?  Soil, seeds and sun, of course, but also hands—helping hands.  On Sunday, April 22, members of the Greater West Chester Sunrise Rotary teamed up to rebuild four raised garden beds in Sidney’s Garden at Barclay Friends, one of over a hundred partner sites dedicated to growing fresh produce for the Chester County Food Bank.

After almost ten years of wear and tear, these raised beds were ready for a face-lift.  Lowe’s Home Improvement in Exton generously agreed to donate cedar wood planks, stakes and deck screws, while Flowers & More, Inc. supplied fresh top soil.  Rotary members joined Barclay Friends Development Director Lee Ann Sullivan and Horticultural Therapist Cheryl Bjornson to construct the new beds.

“We work with the older adults at Barclay Friends to give them a sense of purpose, to enrich their lives,” says Bjornson.  “Our residents know that there are many benefactors who enjoy the food we produce.”  Barclay Friends considers community benefit an important function of its mission and since 2010 has donated almost 2,000 pounds of vegetables to the Food Bank.

Barclay Friends is one of the few long term care communities in the region to have a comprehensive horticultural program, and these raised beds are an important element of that.  Horticultural therapy provides older adults with many benefits including sensory stimulation and improvement in fine and gross motor skills as experienced through activities like flower arranging.

“We’re always so grateful for support from the local West Chester community,” says Sullivan.  “Without help from the folks at Lowe’s, Flowers & More and our Rotary volunteers, it would have been very challenging to complete this project in time for the upcoming growing season.”  The four raised beds in Sidney’s Garden are now ready for residents to plant “cool” season crops, including kale, Swiss chard, beets and broccoli.

Barclay Friends considers and admits residents without regard to race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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