Village Garden to Feed Neighbors in Need

April 14, 2011

Community Garden Sprouts at First Hurst UMC to Feed Neighbors in Need

In early April, volunteers from First United Methodist Church of Hurst planted a community garden that will benefit their neighbors in need. The garden was funded in part by a grant from the Public Health Department and is being administered by the Tarrant Area Food Bank.
For several months, First Hurst volunteers planned the garden and constructed raised planting beds on the church’s campus northeast of downtown Fort Worth. On April 2 the planting began with vegetables that, when harvested, will benefit the clients of Mission Central, a local charitable agency.
Church members, guests and preschool children from the church’s Day School cast their votes to name this special place the “Village Garden,” which was announced on April 2.
FUMC Hurst has a strong tradition of helping their community. In 1996, the church founded the local charitable agency Mission Central to aid their neighbors in need. The agency has provided more than $1 million in goods and services to families in northeast Tarrant County, and has since become a separate non-profit organization.
The second Friday of each month, First Hurst, in conjunction with Mission Central and Tarrant Area Food Bank, offers a mobile food panty from 10 a.m. to noon in the church’s parking lot. In addition to fruits and vegetables, dairy products and eggs, clients can receive aid in applying for various forms of assistance.
Each fall, First Hurst provides full Thanksgiving dinners for more than 1,000 local families. Grocery sacks with shopping lists attached are distributed in late October. Church members shop for the groceries and return their full bags to the church in mid-November. The week before Thanksgiving, the groceries and frozen turkeys are distributed to local families.
The Adopt-a-School partnership of First Hurst with Bellaire Elementary School has been recognized multiple times by the Texas Association of Partners in Education (TAPE). Church members provide ongoing support to Bellaire through school supply drives for students and teachers, tutoring of students, and donations of classroom equipment and supplies.
The Village Garden is the latest expression of the church’s commitment to local mission efforts.
“One of our church’s core vales is transformational generosity,” said Dr. Michael McKee, senior pastor. “We believe that through generous gifts and service to others, not only can the lives of those we serve be transformed, but our lives as well. The volunteers that have spearheaded this community garden are tireless and enthusiastic. I am looking forward to seeing what we will harvest from this garden and what the garden will sow in our community.
The Village Garden effort is led by Vicky Otterman (817-296-3525). First United Methodist Church of Hurst is located at 521 W. Pipeline Road, Hurst, TX 76053. For information, call 817-282-7384 or go to www.fumchurst.org.