Program Allows Seniors to Grow Gardens

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CLEVELAND -- Volunteers in Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood planted seeds of kindness Saturday.

Seniors were given plants so they can grow their own vegetables.

It’s part of a new gardening program called “Salads for Seniors.”

The program was spearheaded by the Old Brooklyn Development Corporation and made possible with a grant from Neighborhood Connections.

"For Salads for Seniors, what we're hoping is they don't have to go to a food pantry to get it, they don't have to go to a store to get it.  It's right on their back porch,” said Jayme Lucas-Bukszar with the OBDC.

One hundred seniors in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood received free container gardens.

They included one tomato and one pepper plant and lettuce seeds.   MetroHealth volunteers delivered them to the homes of the seniors.

"There's a lot of seniors who are not able to take care of a whole garden or even a plot at a community garden.  A container garden is a perfect way to give them access to free vegetables,” Lucas-Bukszar said.

Dorothy Friedl and her husband were among the seniors who received the free garden containers.

“They're telling us to eat healthy.  So, this will help us eat healthy.  This is a very nice surprise, very nice, and a lot of work for people to do this.  It takes team work.  So, we appreciate it,” Friedl said.

Master gardeners at Benjamin Franklin Community Garden oversee the planting of the container gardens.

It is the oldest and largest community garden in the city of Cleveland and all of Cuyahoga County.

Kim Hageman was working in her plot Saturday.

"As a kid we had school gardens here.  Now, this time around I think I have been here about 20 years,” Hageman said.

Her son, daughter and brother also have garden plots there.

It's a giving garden.  Last year, 7,000 pounds of excess produce was donated to area food pantries and distributed to seniors and the needy in the community.

The volunteers hope to continue the gardening program next year.

The plan is to reuse the containers and give the seniors more plants and seeds.

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