Volunteers to help with city gardens

PARKERSBURG – Volunteers will gather Saturday at three locations in Parkersburg to ready gardens for planting. Two of the gardens are community gardens and one is for the Fellowship Home residents.

The gardens are at the First Lutheran Church on 19th Street, where work will begin at 9 a.m.; work at the Lynn Street Church of Christ will begin at 10 a.m. and at the Fellowship Home on George Street at 9 a.m.

AmeriCorps members will join other volunteers to prepare the gardens for planting. The fresh produce will be offered free to the community later this summer. Fellowship Home residents will continue to work in the garden and use the produce for their own meals.

AmeriCorps members are responsible for completing service projects throughout their year of service. This project coincides with Community Service Week of April 21-27. The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department has seven AmeriCorps members that have been working with the Change the Future West Virginia Program. They have been busy encouraging grocery stores to offer healthy checkout aisles, convenience stores to offer fresh produce and offering Group Lifestyle Balance classes for those at risk for diabetes and Chronic Disease Self-Management classes for those with any chronic disease.

“Working with the community gardens fits well with our program. It is helping people have easy access to fresh produce in their own communities, and in all of our classes we emphasis the importance of eating healthier, fresher food,” said AmeriCorps member Casey Cunningham.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program educators from the MOVHD will also be at the garden sites. They are working to encourage SNAP recipients to make healthier choices with their benefits. SNAP recipients can purchase plants and seeds with their benefits.

Anyone wanting to participate should contact Barbara Holt at 304-485-7374, extention 103.