Getting dirt under your fingernails is good for you!
Our man and woman on the job in Portland, Oregon are Majors Jim and Barbara Sloan. I’ve met a lot of Salvation Army officers in my ten years here, but these two have special qualities that impressed me from the start. He’s a bright, business-minded, warm and friendly bear of a guy and she’s every bit his equal (except for the “bear of a guy” part). Together they’ve made great plans for Portland and have focused their staff on providing essential, life-healing service in all of their programs.
One of those programs is the West Women and Children’s Shelter. They started something new in June. During the monthly resident meeting, a woman who’d lived on a farm before coming to the shelter suggested they use a plot of land behind the building to grow vegetables. So, they formed a Garden Committee and decided how to approach the project.
For starters, everything in the garden was donated: the soil came from the local food bank, seeds from an advisory board member, and seedlings were cultivated by kids in the day care program. A local Boy Scout troop built the raised beds.
Now, women in the residency program know what so many others know: working in the garden is relaxing and therapeutic! And, they know that homegrown basil, squash and heirloom tomatoes taste pretty darn good. To read more about this story please click here to be connected to The Salvation Army in Portland online.
If you’d like to be kept up to date on what’s happening at The Salvation Army in Portland, please email Teresa Engel and ask to be added to their email newsletter list.
If you’d like to volunteer to get your hands dirty in the veggie garden – or help with anything else, for that matter – please email Amy Bogdon.
Or, if you’re a Facebook member, click here to see their fan page.