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Saturday, Nov 01, 2014

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Food pantry’s garden grows with the helping hands of Kids on Campus


A Coolville food pantry has helped so many people over the years that students in the Kids on Campus (KoC) afterschool program decided that it should get some help too.

The Friends and Neighbors Community Choice Food Center received a serenity garden this month thanks to a service-learning project spearheaded by students in the KoC program who attend Federal Hocking Secondary and Middle Schools in Stewart, and Amesville and Coolville Elementary Schools. KoC is an afterschool and summer enrichment program operated by Ohio University's College of Health Sciences and Professions.

The garden project involved the labors of students and KoC staff, along with $2,000 in grants from the Ohio Department of Education. The KoC students, some of whose families have been helped by the pantry, planted fruit trees, hauled mulch and set out garden statues to create a relaxing area for visitors.

The KoC students aren't the only ones who have taken notice of the helping hand that Friends and Neighbors provides to its community. State Sen. Lou Gentile, a Democrat whose district includes much of southeast Ohio, stopped by on June 17 to check out the garden's progress and talk with Friends and Neighbors Director Lisa Roberts about the pantry's work. And Friends and Neighbors has been featured in a broadcast on "Dateline NBC."

Jody Grenert is communication director of Ohio University's College of Health Sciences and Professions.

KOC garden 1

Students in Kids on Campus have installed a serenity garden at the Friends and Neighbors Community Choice Food Center in Coolville as part of a service-learning project.

KOC garden 3

 The garden includes several statues, including a glittering turtle.

KOC garden 4

 The Friends and Neighbors pantry in Coolville has been featured in a broadcast on "Dateline NBC."

KOC garden 6

 An angel statue watches over the grounds of the food pantry.

KOC garden 2

 A KoC volunteer spreads mulch in the serenity garden.

KOC garden 7

 Lisa Roberts, director of Friends and Neighbors Community Choice Food Center, holds some decorations while greeting a well-wisher.

KOC garden 5

Roberts decorates the area around a statue that honors area veterans.

KOC garden 8

 Discussing the garden project are, from left, Timarie Francis, KoC program manager; Roberts; and Ohio state Sen. Lou Gentile, a Democrat whose southeast Ohio district includes the food pantry.