The Toccoa-Stephens County Boys’ and Girls’ Club will use grant money to help start a community garden in Toccoa.
WellCare Health Plans has provided the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Toccoa-Stephens County with a grant to provide seed money to start the garden.
Toccoa-Stephens County Boys’ and Girls’ Club Director Cindy Arnold said that the plan is to create and maintain a garden that will benefit the club and others as well.
“The idea is that as the garden progresses and produces, and we hope that it produces in abundance, that the proceeds from that would go, at least part of it, back to the food pantry and the soup kitchen and then maybe a little bit of it (would go) for our Boys’ and Girls’ Club to enjoy,” said Arnold.
The garden will be located on a plot of land owned by the city of Toccoa that is located directly across from the Boys’ and Girls’ Club on Whitman Street.
Arnold said the garden will hopefully help promote healthy eating among children in the community.
“A lot of times we see that many kids today are fighting with obesity and they are fighting with not being as active as they should be,” said Arnold. “We want them to have some healthy, homegrown food and what is better than actually eating what you produce.”
She went on to say that her hope is that the garden will teach children at the club other valuable lessons as well.
“There are children today that think that the tomatoes and the cucumbers that appear in the vegetable section at Ingles’ or some of our other local food providers just magically (appear) and if they do see them coming in off a truck, they do not understand that there are people all over the world and in this nation especially that are out in the fields toiling and there is a lot of effort and work that goes into that.”
The club thinks it is a lesson in patience, care, and understanding, said Arnold, adding it will show children hopefully that anything they want, they have to work for.
According to Arnold, the goal is to get the garden started sometime in the next few weeks.
She said she appreciates WellCare’s support of the Toccoa-Stephens County Boys’ and Girls’ Club and other Boys’ and Girls’ clubs across Georgia.
“They are always interested in what we are doing,” said Arnold. “They have partnered with us on a national level to provide separate funds for different projects throughout the state and we appreciate them for their attitude and their support.”
The Toccoa-Stephens County Boys’ and Girls’ Club’s effort is one of 22 community gardens across Georgia to receive grant funding from WellCare.
In their announcement of the grant, WellCare officials stated that the goal is to engage with communities on healthy eating and healthy living.
Arnold said she also appreciates the city of Toccoa’s support for this project and for the club’s other efforts as well.