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COMCorps, Glouster residents unite to “Make a Difference”

OU-COM and community work together in day of community service

Members of OU-COM’s Community Health Programs’ AmeriCorps program, COMCorps, spent Saturday,
Oct. 24, building raised garden beds at the Glouster Community Gardens.         
Photo by Victor J Blue

By Richard Heck

Oct. 26, 2009

(GLOUSTER, Ohio)—OU-COM and Glouster community volunteers joined forces Saturday for national Make a Difference Day in the
northern Athens County village.

Nearly three dozen people spent a cloudy Saturday morning building 12 new raised beds for the Glouster Community Gardens. This doubled the number of raised beds available for Glouster residents to grow vegetables.

The effort was led by OU-COM’s COMCorps organization, an AmeriCorps program run by the college’s Community Health Programs. Among other agencies represented were Community Food Initiatives (CFI), CFI’s Red Hot Pepper 4-H Club and Tri-County Community Action Agency 

“Community gardens are a way for people to get exercise and grow affordable food,” said Patty Nally, a COMCorps volunteer.

The community gardens are located on a hill overlooking the Glouster Police Station and Tri-County Community Action Agency, which owns the surrounding 14 acres.

The raised beds are necessary because the site was once a brick factory, and the compact clay soil still contains bits of brick and stone, said Bob Garbo, Tri-County executive director who joined in the efforts on Saturday to help build the garden beds. The Tri-County complex also hosts some of OU-COM’s Free Clinic health screenings throughout the year.

Using scrap slabs of timber donated by an area saw mill, the volunteers built each raised bed and filled them with donated soil. Others spent the morning weeding and preparing the gardens for next year’s crop, and harvesting the last of the carrots, onions and peppers grown this summer.

“We’re just getting a jump on next year,” said Shirley Hopstetter, a VISTA volunteer with the Southeast Regional Food Center. 

Created by USA Weekend Magazine, Make a Difference Day is a national day of volunteerism that celebrates neighbors working together to improve their communities.


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