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Interfaith Project in West Hartford Provides Fresh Food for Homeless

Solomon Schechter community with some of the plants they are growing indoors. Submitted photo

Students at Solomon Schechter Day School in West Hartford are growing food for area shelters – even in the fall and winter.

Solomon Schechter community with some of the plants they are growing indoors. Submitted photo

Solomon Schechter community with some of the plants they are growing indoors. Submitted photo

Submitted

Area students are collaborating in an interfaith project to grow and provide fresh produce for homeless and people with food insecurities.

What started as a simple potato experiment has grown into a project with a much deeper value: to help people in the Greater Hartford community become nourished with healthy, delicious vegetables. Students at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford are growing healthy vegetables to feed homeless and people with food insecurities in an interfaith effort with two different community organizations.

Schechter is currently raising money through a SeedMoney.org campaign to enable them to increase the amount of food they can grow and donate. The campaign runs through Dec. 15, 2016.

Schechter’s collaboration with two different community organizations enables students to provide food directly to others, and helps other people learn how to grow their own food, contributing to the greater good. Their gardening program embodies the core values of the school: Good Heart, Community, and Wisdom.

In a collaboration between different faiths, members of the Schechter garden club work with congregants and parishioners of the nearby Westminster Church, tending to the church’s garden during the school year. Students plant, weed, and water during the spring and then help to collect the harvest in the fall. Because this garden is part of the Jesse’s Community Garden initiative, the harvested vegetables are donated to Loaves and Fishes in Hartford.

At the same time, the Schechter garden club also raises their own seed plants in the spring. When the plants reach a viable size, they are donated to the BOTS Pots program, where individuals from shelters are trained to take care of these plants, and are paid for their work; the ripe vegetables are available for anyone who needs them.

“We have had tremendous success growing potato plants in large pots inside the window-filled front hallway of the school,” noted Head of School Andrea Kasper. She said that the green leaves provide a bright spot during the dreary winter, and they also give younger students the opportunity to take measurements of the plants as they grow, to observe the changes and document them through drawings and sketches. Kasper continued, “These plants teach our students about science, math, art; most importantly, they teach the value of helping others.”

To learn more about Schechter’s fundraising campaign, please visit https://www.seedmoney.org/campaign/440/solomon-schechter-collaborative-garden-project#Campaign

A Solomon Schechter student works with the potato plants. Submitted photo

A Solomon Schechter student works with the potato plants. Submitted photo

Solomon Schechter students gardening. Submitted photo

Solomon Schechter students gardening. Submitted photo

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