Covington church plants seeds to feed the hungry

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - The ground has been prepared and the soil is ready for planting at Madison Avenue Christian Church's new Community Garden.  Developed on a piece of land behind an apartment building adjacent to the Church property, and with the help of the University of Kentucky/Kenton County Extension Office, volunteers and community residents are planting vegetables to help feed the growing number of poor and hungry in Covington.

Hundreds gathered at the church Monday for a community cookout and to work on tilling the soil. "I don't think the homeless and those in need get to eat fresh vegetables all the time," said senior minister, Chinna M. Simon.

Nursing students volunteer at the twice-weekly community dinners and wanted to enhance the quality of nutrition for the guests.  "We found that one of the biggest nutritional problems of the homeless is anemia because they don't eat enough iron rich vegetables," says NKU Associate Professor of Nursing Kristine Pfendt.

Madison Avenue Christian Church involved the University of Kentucky/Kenton County Extension office for horticultural advice and assistance with the design of the garden beds.  Horticultural Agent Andrea Dee recommended the various types of vegetables and berries and offered suggestions for enriching the soil.  The garden includes four 4'x8' plots.

The church is also hoping to reach out to suburban and rural home gardeners and farmers who might contribute some of their produce for the meals.  "Our food needs are greater than what our garden will provide this summer," said Simon.  The church is asking the public to plant a few extra vegetables in their home gardens to share with the feeding program throughout the summer.  "We hope to connect with people in the suburbs and help increase the joy they receive through their garden by donating some of their home-grown vegetables to our meal program."

Madison Avenue Christian Church feeds 100-150 homeless and working poor at its Monday and Wednesday evening community dinners.  The church is asking members of the community to sign up on the website if they can contribute their homegrown vegetables for the meals.

Volunteers will prepare fresh salads with the produce that is grown in the garden and with food donated from suburban gardeners. Meals will include a variety of lettuces, green peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn and squash.

Now in its sixth year, the Madison Avenue Christian Church community meal program has served over 40,000 hot meals with the help of church members and community volunteers.

Copyright 2012 WXIX. All rights reserved.