On October 9, 2021, United Way Miami’s giving communities (Tocqueville Society, Women United, Men United, Young Leaders, LINC, and Small Business United), in partnership with Health in the Hood, a local nonprofit organization that connects communities to wellness, had the opportunity to give back by bringing their family and friends together at a distance, lending a hand in revitalizing a community garden space. This space will serve neighbors with a place to gather and cultivate healthy food alternatives.
Over the span of two shifts, volunteers laid the blocks that will become the foundation for 22 garden beds. Together, they cemented the blocks and built four picnic tables creating a space that encourages families in the neighborhood to come together.
While volunteers, family, and friends extended a helping hand with this revitalized space, children had the opportunity to plant seeds for a seedling station that will subsequently be transferred to the garden beds. Furthermore, the children painted and decorated rocks that will be used to label the plants they planted.
In the midst of prepping for this event, some neighbors who were watching from afar decided to walk across the street from their home to volunteer. “I think it’s a great way for the community to come together and to get what they need to eat healthy instead of stuffing themselves with food that’s not really nourishing,” said Shavonda “Shay” Blatch. Blatch mentions how it is impactful to her because she wants her children, ages 5 to 28 years old, to eat healthy.
The Garden Director for Health in the Hood, Jason Ostrow, believes the fight for hunger is their main mission. “The simple solution we have for that [fighting hunger] is creating community gardens and urban farms like this one so we can feed the community and reach people to learn how to grow their own food,” said Ostrow. Laying the blocks for 22 garden beds was impactful to Ostrow and his team because it was their first urban event.
For our Women United member, Illeana Castillo Frick, events like our Leaders Day of Action gives her the opportunity to show her commitment to communities that need support. Frick mentioned as she was driving in, she noticed the neighborhood needed a lot of support. “I hope that it will be a day for them to remember and that they will be a part of their own community and as a result they’ll be proud of where they live and where they raise their families,” said Frick.
Brendan Yuen, member of Young Leaders, stated that he was ready to support by building gardens that will help bring healthy accessible food and to inject some healthy living into the community. “We’re excited to be here to support both United Way and Young Leaders,” said Yuen. “We’ll get into the dirt and plant some vegetables and build some community here.”
United Way Miami would like thank our presenting sponsor, Brandesco BAC Florida Bank and our site sponsor, Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A.
If you would like to join or learn more about our giving communities visit: https://unitedwaymiami.org/get-involved/join-a-giving-community/.
For more opportunities to give back visit: www.volunteermiami.org.