The Jewish Community Center has a new community garden, which is part of an effort to fight hunger in the Mahoning Valley.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held recently for the garden, which is being spearheaded by the JTeens as part of the Youngstown B'nai B'rith Organization's ''Stand Up!'' campaign.
Adam Hirsh, youth program coordinator for the JCC, said construction of the garden included professional landscaping the area. The teens will take care of the garden with the help of the residents of the nearby nursing home and assisted living facility, he said.
Photos by Bob Coupland / Liberty Community News
Zach Weisberg of Liberty helps shovel mulch at the new community garden located behind the Jewish Community Center.
The teens wanted to do a series of community service projects to help battle hunger, Hirsh said. Plans are to donate all the food harvested in the garden for educational cooking classes, a farmers market and to use the garden for education for the children's summer camp.
A unique feature is the intergenerational programming between young people and the elderly in the garden, he said.
The garden is located in the back of the center to the right of the tennis courts next to Heritage Manor. The area was selected because it was no longer being used anymore and to make it more attractive and useful, Hirsh said.
The area is 37 by 67 feet and is surrounded by a white picket fence. There are six raised planter boxes.
Work done recently for the garden included spray-painting large tires that will be in the center of the garden. Plans are to plant strawberries, cantaloupe, potatoes, corn, pumpkin, tomatoes, squash and peppers.
Jordan Hirschhaut of BBYO Youngstown said the teen Stand Up! campaign makes teens aware of hunger issues by creating a garden where they can plant items to be self-sufficient.
"We want to get the community involved and plan on using the garden to benefit others," she said.
The teens will take care of the plants by first start growing them at their own homes before they are planted in the garden.
Leora Hoenig of Cleveland with the BBYO Ohio Northern Region said the garden project was part of the National Day of Service community projects
BBYO is an independent Jewish youth group for teens in high school.
Sandy Kesler, executive director of the JCC, said this project is intergenational to get the assisted living facility and nursing home residents, teenagers and day care children all involved in the garden.