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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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A harvest of winners

Pennsylvania youth plant a victory garden to feed the hungry

During World War II, victory gardens were planted to conserve food, energy and other vital resources. More than 50 years later, 31 youth and their families from Brush Creek Lutheran Church, Irwin, Pa., are sharing the resources of their victory garden.

And their project is a winner with a local food pantry. The youth are the only group to contribute their entire garden's fresh produce to the pantry, which serves at least 130 families a month.

The area's hungry are winners, too, as they receive fresh tomatoes, green peppers and beans.

The effort is a unique and welcome contribution to the food program. The pantry generally receives canned or packaged items with only limited amounts of fresh produce being donated by volunteers.

Last year the youth kicked off their project with a narrated tale about a man whose car went into a ditch. A farmer volunteered his mule, Buddy, to pull out the car. When Buddy was hooked up, the farmer yelled, "Go, Oscar." Nothing happened. Then he yelled, "Go, Freddie." Nothing happened.

Finally the farmer yelled, "Go, Buddy," and the mule pulled the car out of the ditch.

When the driver asked why he called out three different names, the farmer replied, "You see, Buddy is blind. If he thought he had to pull that car out by himself, he never would have tried it."

And for the youth, what would have been a chore for one family was a light load for 18. Together they planted the seedlings. Then each family came just one week over the summer to weed, water, harvest and deliver the vegetables.

The youth also put part of their earnings from summer jobs into ELCA World Hunger boxes. They collected $111 in quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies to "change" world hunger.


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