There's a sign way, way at the top of the hill. Up the gravel road, hang a right at the farm stand, then a left at the goat barn, and there the sign stands: the Betty and Jim Holmes Food Bank Garden. It may be billed as a community garden, but a better description may be a garden that serves the community.
Located on land behind the Crossnore School and The Children's Home in Winston-Salem, N.C., down from the cattle and nestled in between the trees, is where over 12,000 pounds of fresh produce were grown last year to help feed individuals and families fighting hunger in the 17 counties served by the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest N.C.
Watermelon as sweet as candy.
The fresh produce is plucked from the plants or pulled from the ground and taken to the food bank, where it is soon distributed to soup kitchens, food pantries and other feeding agencies to go directly to northwest North Carolina families and individuals in need.
Ahead of Arbor Day, through Food Lion's Food Lion Feeds hunger relief initiative, a group of Food Lion associates joined the garden's director, Ellen Kirby, and volunteer Julie Wood to help plant onions and beans, hill the soil around potato plants, harvest kale and do other tasks around the garden to allow them to serve even more community members in need.
"Food Lion has a reputation for being a company that serves the needs of all people, and that means that you're a great partner for us," Kirby said. "We rely on volunteers to do everything we do here. Last year we raised 12,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables, all of which go to Second Harvest Food Bank. Food Lion's time, energy and contribution is a tremendous help to us."
Helping each other is what community is all about.
"We'd like to thank Food Lion for doing a tremendous amount of work that is greatly appreciated by 18 counties in northwest North Carolina where our food is donated," Wood added.
The Food Bank Garden is more than a piece of land to grow produce. It’s a space where hope is born for the struggling families that will receive the fresh fruits and vegetable pulled from the ground. It's providing the nourishment for not only the soul of those who volunteer there, but also for the bodies of those who need it the most.
It's tending to the land, so we can tend to each other. And Food Lion is proud to join with the food bank, the garden and all our community partners to do just that.