I will never forget From the Ground Up’s first food delivery to the homeless shelter. I’m not sure what I expected, but it was a very humbling experience! That evening I got a Facebook message from shelter residents. It said “There are tears of joy in our eyes. Thank you for caring enough to bring us fresh food, rather than what we usually see ready for the compost pile!” I was hooked! It mattered!
From the Ground Up met Albert while installing the garden at the Avenida Apartments which is Caminar and Butte County Behavioral Health housing for disabled residents living independently. Here we were with all of our equipment, soil, plants and teaching how to garden and along comes Albert. He asked for his own “spot”. Albert had a piece of rolled up plastic netting and said it was full of seeds. OK then....hmmmmm. We found a corner with good afternoon sunshine and Albert planted his netting. Albert’s netting grew into the greatest bunch of veggies! And guess who Avenida’s #1 lead gardener is??? Albert!
This note was found at our Kentfield Garden. It was written on a scrap of paper with a pink highlighter from our children's area. "THANK YOU...WE WERE STARVING"....but they aren't anymore! We don't always know who they are or why ......... does it matter when they're hungry???
We had a booth once and I met this awesome woman. She said charity was a scam. She was very suspicious of “Free”. She said “it can’t happen for free”! She asked “how are you free”? I explained we work for free. “Aaaaahhh but your supplies are not free!” So I explained that everything we have and use was donated…so still free. She had me now because I had to “pay” for what we bought! I smiled and said that the money we used was donated. Our first plant starts for first garden were donated and produced seeds to replant….still free…land we garden on is free….our equipment is all donated. She shook her head and walked away. Before she left though she left a donation and signed up on our email list.
Our Kentfield Garden is in the middle of a residential neighborhood. All the flurry of activity there as we gardened brought curious neighbors out to meet us. Not only did they meet us, but they got re-acquainted with neighbors they hadn’t seen in years. They have come to depend on our neighborhood produce stand being stocked. Kentfield Garden has become a gathering place as neighbors relax around a fire pit in the evening or gather for a BBQ and music. Now they are having regular gatherings and fun…From the Ground Up style!
We were doing a Nutrition Workshop at the Torres Shelter. We were teaching our "Mason Jar Meals" which teach that you can have fast, convenient food for pennies when shopping for dry ingredients and pre-planning. An 8 year old boy who lived at the shelter had made his own Mason Jar of soup mix and suddenly hugged me and thanked me. He was so excited because "this was going to be his and mom's first meal together when they get a real house again".
Sometimes when the day is long, maybe you've worked hard and are tired, maybe you feel unappreciated or ????? Take our advice and garden for a few minutes to regain your peace.
From the Ground Up never has far to go to remember exactly why all of us volunteers work so hard for free. We find things daily, like this note, to remind us just how important and appreciated what we do is to those in need in our community. We love you Butte County!
Ground Support USA made a Community Positive Road Trip with their tiny house style coffee shop across the United States to see who they found across our great country making big differences in their community. Guess who they found? Yep. They found our Kentfield Garden in Chico, California, out of this entire big US of A. Woohoooo! What a party we had with them!
Faith…..it comes in so many forms. For From the Ground Up it came in the form of a bubbly little blond girl so full of energy and life. That almost wasn’t the case though. Faith was very young when diagnosed with cancer. Faith’s family fought hard and nutrition became a major focus to save Faith. That was when our Faith came to us. She and Mom are some of our original volunteers and continue to make the world a better place. Faith has now been renamed a “Cancer Survivor” and no longer a “Cancer Patient”.
...... so far anyway. Is your story next?
Here are a few of our special stories....