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With helping hands from BB&T Lighthouse Project volunteers and enthusiasm from local residents and Vick Elementary School volunteers, the Seeds of Hope Teaching and Community Garden is taking root.
“We are excited to move forward,” said Priscilla Morello, Seeds of Hope Wilson executive director.
About 25 volunteers from BB&T built 18 raised beds and filled them with rich soil Tuesday on a 906 Viola St. lot directly across from Vick Elementary.
“We wanted to work with Seeds of Hope because of the great work they do in Wilson,” said Christopher Sauls of BB&T. “We’re proud to team up with them and help in any way we can. As you can see, everyone here is excited and we enjoy doing it.”
“Each of the Vick Elementary classes participating will have their own planter box,” Sauls said. “They will be planting their own flowers and vegetables in the planter boxes, which will be exciting for the students and community to see grow. In the near future they will also have an outdoor classroom and a storage shed utilizing this property. Everyone is excited to see the progress that is taking place here.”
Morello said Seeds of Hope will work with Vick teachers to create a curriculum for next year.
“It’s an opportunity for those students to come and plant flowers and vegetables, for them to actually be in a garden with some hands on,” Morello said. “We hope to have a butterfly farm where they will be able to see a caterpillar going from a caterpillar to a butterfly.”
BB&T volunteers also worked to plant fresh flowers in a memorial garden on behalf of Jocelyn Hernandez, a worker at Winstead United Methodist Church who passed away last summer.
“I think it’s important to give back and to be involved in our communities,” said BB&T volunteer Stephanie Murdock, who helped spruce up the garden. “Participating in the BB&T Lighthouse Projects helps provide a way for BB&T associates to do just that.”
Seeds of Hope Wilson has been in existence for five years.
“The initial impetus for creating this nonprofit, Seeds of Hope Wilson, was the vision that we had for this vacant lot,” Morello said. “The city has now made it available to us to create this teaching and community garden.”
The property owner donated it to Seeds of Hope and the group renovated a house on the lot to create a community center.
“So it’s Seeds of Hope House, and for the last two years we have had an after-school program with children from Vick Elementary School, third graders, and have been very successful with that,” Morello said. “We also in the community center have an English language learner class for some of the Hispanic families in the community. We trained some of the families last summer in garden care. We are hoping to enlist their help in running and managing this teaching and community garden.”
Morello said about 25 people turned out for a planning session Tuesday night.
Group members decided they wanted to see if they could donate a portion of the garden’s produce to the needy. Several people signed as volunteers to help plant the garden.
Morello said the group created an advisory board to talk about the guidelines for use of the garden.
“The largest number of people want to work in the garden,” Morello said. “They want to plant and help with producing vegetables”
Morello said an anonymous donor has offered $10,000 to support the garden if Seeds of Hope can raise a matching $10,000. Morello said $3,000 has already been raised for the project. To contribute toward the fund, call Morello at 252-236-8673 or send a check to Seeds of Hope Wilson, P.O. Box 2262, Wilson, NC 27894.
Soon, fencing will be added to encircle the garden.
“There are costs and they add up fast,” Morello said.