Long Beach Community Foundation Builds Community Garden at Boys and Girls Club

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The Long Beach Community Foundation (LBCF), in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Long Beach, created a community garden at the Dean A Eastman/Fairfield Boys and Girls Club in North Long Beach on Saturday, November 14, 2015. The garden is LBCF’s 2015 National Philanthropy Day project, an annual project created to give back to the community.

“This idea of a community garden at the Boys and Girls Club developed after a touching visit to the center to learn more about the club’s offerings,” said LBCF President Marcelle Epley. “What started out as just a typical visit to a local nonprofit, grew to much more when we witnessed a great need and tremendous potential.”

The Boys and Girls Clubs throughout Long Beach not only provide quality care and positive experiences for youth in the area, they often provide dinner, the only nutritious meal a child will eat the day they attend the club.

“It was an eye-opener to learn the clubs were often feeding the kids dinner before they left for the evening, just so the kids didn’t go without a meal,” said LBCF Board Chair Jane Netherton. “Creating a garden at this club is twofold– it a learning opportunity for the kids to harvest some of their own ingredients, while providing a cost effective, nutritious food source in their own club backyard.”

More than 40 volunteers are scheduled to begin renovating the underutilized space behind the Boys and Girls Club at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. The renovation will include building and installing seven raised farm beds and three benches, planting the beds with fruits and vegetables, installing shade sails, painting existing storage containers and mulching the entire area.

The entire event was overseen by Kelli Johnson, local agricultural activist and community volunteer who was recently named as a Press Telegram 2015 Amazing Women. Other partnerships for the day included Rebuilding Together Long Beach, TGIS Catering, Berlin Coffee Shop, Commune Communications and Windes, Inc. Many of the LBCF’s Donor Advised Fund holders, as well as LBCF and Boys and Girls Club Board members also contributed to the day’s event through financial support.

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