Calera youth answer the call

The young people at Calera First United Methodist Church are answering the call to “feed the hungry” by planting, cultivating, harvesting and then donating all of the produce from their garden to those who may not have access to fresh and healthy vegetables.

This is the second year of gardening for the church group.

“Our focus is faith in action — loving your neighbor, feeding the hungry, that kind of thing,” said youth leader Clay Farrington. “The idea for the project came in the spring of ’07 as a way for our youth group to utilize our resources and to turn our faith into action.”

The church is situated on a large piece of property and the garden is located in an unused fertile spot on the lower side.

The dedicated young people do all of the work. Most of the plants, seed and fertilizer are donated. Bonnie Plants gave hundreds of tomato plants as well as peas, beans, melons, okra, squash, eggplants and peppers. Sprinklers and hoses were also donated. Farrington explained that one of the best ways that the program impacts the young people is through their own anonymity. They have intentionally stayed pretty quiet about their project and they don’t look for publicity. As he commented, “We just do it.”

The youth do not even deliver the produce, but send it each week by their other leaders, Chris and Katherine Brannon, to Shelby Emergency Assistance for distribution.

Karen Pendleton, Director of SEA, is very grateful for the vegetables and explained that many of her clients live in apartments where they cannot have a garden or are victims of the poor economic times and simply cannot afford the fresh produce.

“In addition to the obvious benefits of helping out those in need and teaching servant-minded humility, the garden is a great tool for teaching these young people the basics of planting, growing and tending a garden,” said Farrington, “And it’s a great tool for getting people of different generations working together for a single purpose.”

Catherine Legg can be reached at clegg2@bellsouth.net