Labor of Love

Mission Garden provides fresh vegetables for the hungry in Springfield


The cars were lined up clear to Koke Mill Road for Pastor Nicole Cox’s drive-by farewell salute in early June. While waiting in line at the far end of the parking lot near the pond, one passenger noticed the waist-high vegetation in the Mission Garden.

“The Mission Garden has really taken off!” she marveled.

Problem was, the incredible growth was weeds fueled by the relentless rains of April and May. No problem. Less than a week later, the weeds were gone and the garden had been tilled to perfection by Clyde McCaherty, a member of Springfield First’s Missions Council and a tireless contributor to the Mission Garden that produces fresh vegetables for the Kumler Food Pantry. In fact, Clyde meets all new garden volunteers for a quick training session on how to properly weed, water, and harvest the garden.

Led by Brenda and Mark Allen, a group that included Pastor Roger Grimmett, Chantel Corrie, Missions Council members, and other church volunteers gathered one evening in mid-June to plant corn, onions, summer squash, basil, tomatoes, peppers, and peas. The garden has taken off and now is overflowing with fresh, nutritious vegetables that will go each week to the Kumler Food Pantry.

“The Mission Garden is truly a labor of love for those who tend to the garden,” said Pastor Roger. “We literally reap what we sow, and what our garden produces helps feed the hungry in our community.”

The Missions Council is seeking volunteers to sign up for a week at a time to take care of the garden. Jennifer Hoerner is in charge of scheduling volunteers. She has set up an easy-to-use online signup.

“We ask the volunteers to check on the garden three times during their week, to weed and water the garden and to pick the vegetables that are ready to harvest. Near the end of the week, we ask them to take the vegetables they’ve picked to Kumler (303 North Grand Avenue in Springfield). Our garden expert Clyde meets new volunteers at the garden to give them a 10-minute training session,” said Jennifer. Contact Jennifer Hoerner for more information.