by Josephine McKelvy, Lilly O’Connell, and Cassandra Johnson
Treasuring Christ Church
Treasuring Christ Church (TCC) is a recipient of a 2014 Wake County mini-grant from Voices into Action (VIA). TCC is now in the old YWCA building, across from the Thompson Center on E. Hargett Street. Heather Graig, a representative of TCC, recently discussed some of the successes and future partnerships that her church is fostering in order to renovate a public playground on their campus.
As a VIA mini-grantee, TCC has purchased new seats for the swing set as well as mulch and landscaping. Next on their agenda is a new sign for the playground, for which they’ll collaborate with a local construction class to build. TCC is also working on a partnership with Exploris Middle School to share the playground for two years while the school is temporarily located downtown. Exploris is a charter school focusing on global education, which involves giving back to the community.
Treasuring Christ Church and its playground are located at 554 E. Hargett Street. The playground is open to the public from dawn to dusk and there’s plenty of room to run, jump, swing, and slide, along with picnic tables where parents can relax while their kids play. Stop by for a visit!
Fertile Ground Food Cooperative
A dedicated team of Southeast Raleigh residents and advocates are working to launch the Fertile Ground Food Cooperative, a multi-stakeholder cooperative grocery store that will be located in Southeast Raleigh. A Voices into Action mini-grant helped pay for the feasibility study that was completed this summer, identifying potential locations in which to establish the store. The exact location is still to be determined.
Fertile Ground recently launched their membership campaign, and they already have nearly 70 members (people who have paid $100 – either as one payment or spread over time – to support the development of the co-op), who are excited about bringing healthy, affordable food to the neighborhood. Right now, leaders within Fertile Ground, including longtime resident Erin Byrd and ally Zulayka Santiago, are working to increase membership and to raise awareness of their initiative. At a recent monthly meeting, Zulayka explained that Fertile Ground stands for many things—healthy food, a grocery store in the Southeast Raleigh community, and a community gathering space—among others. The leadership team is committed to creating an inviting space for residents of Southeast Raleigh to get healthy, affordable food, especially in light of how far many residents must travel to reach a supermarket. The leadership team’s goal is to reach 100 members by October, and they plan to launch a fundraising campaign in mid-October to keep the momentum going.
Fertile Ground Food Cooperative meets monthly, and you can stay up-to-date on their events and meetings by joining their Facebook group or emailing Erin or Zulayka to get on the mailing list. Come out to learn more about this project and show your support!
Alliance Medical Ministry
A lush community garden peeks from behind the Alliance Medical Ministry building off New Bern Blvd in Raleigh. This serene community garden welcomes passers-by with wooden benches and cheerful sunflowers. The Alliance Medical Ministry community garden has a variety of seasonal vegetables that are donated to Alliance patients when they come into the clinic for an appointment. At this time of year, the garden is growing of tomatoes, cucumbers and okra.
Partnerships help make this community garden possible. Campbell Road Nursery donated many of the plants in the garden including peanut bushes. Hand-painted signs decorate the garden and invite visitors to explore. NCSU students created these colorful signs to identify different vegetables like cucumber, kale and spinach. Other partner organizations have provided numerous volunteers to help work in the garden – these organizations include Activate Good, the Wake County Bar Association and 10th Judicial District, various churches, the Parks Scholars’ Service Raleigh Program, National Charities, and Med Mutual. A mini-grant from Voices into Action made it possible for the garden to build and install reusable trellises for climbing plants (like tomatoes), plant a blueberry patch and other produce, and create and install a sign welcoming people to the garden.
Elizabeth Daniel, Director of Community Outreach at Alliance Medical Ministry, is proud of the community garden and feels good about providing patients and their families with access to fresh produce and contributing to a healthy lifestyle. The garden has open volunteer work days on the 2nd Wednesday (5pm-7pm) and 4th Saturday (10am-12pm) of each month, so feel free to stop in to help out!