One day last week fourth graders from New City School walked over to Trinity Church's food pantry on Washington with a 14-pound watermelon they had grown at a community garden for the pantry's clients. After enjoying a slice of the watermelon a woman remarked that the watermelon "was the sweetest she had tasted all year."
The organic garden, a few blocks east of the school, serves as an outdoor classroom for the New City's curriculum on citizenship (see earlier post here).
Arthur Culbert, center, is the urban farmer who developed the community garden specifically to help feed clients of the neighborhood's two food pantries (Trinity Church and Second Presbyterian Church). Enlisting New City School students to work in the garden and learn where food comes from was also Arthur's brilliant idea.
When they visited last week, the children served popcorn they had grown from seed and dried for popping. The corn was popped in coconut oil and sprinkled with nutritional yeast as flavoring (the food pantry encourages healthy eating habits). Volunteers enrolled in St. Louis University's Masters of Public Health program were along to help out at the pantry too.
New City School students are gaining valuable knowledge from the experience of growing organic food for those less fortunate in the community, and food pantry clients are gaining the health benefits from the children's efforts.
When asked how she felt about having the students at the food pantry one client said, "Bless their little hearts." I noticed how the children brightened up the room with their enthusiasm that day, and the joy they exuded when serving others was infectious. It's a win-win situation all the way around.