Youngsters are getting into the spirit of giving with Waihopai Play centre and St Patricks Primary School growing veggies for Spirit Army families.
Trish Mitchell of Waihopai Playcentre said the children used the garden to “promote our tamariki caring, nurturing and sharing with our living world.”
When the caulis grew to maturity they looked to share them with families who would appreciate them.
Spirit Army leader, Gerry Forde, applauded the move, seeing it as a fundamental change in thinking.
“Isolation is the main cause of poverty. We all breathe the same air, have the same needs, yet to give someone caulis or a helping hand has become a big drama – like we’ve broken a taboo. Its heart-warming to see the new generation moving back to village community where someone else’s needs are yours to satisfy,” said Forde.
Families receive a veggie bag every week and the public is welcome to drop their spare veggies in the porch at 73 Lindisfarne St by 2pm any Thursday for distribution that afternoon.
St Patricks Primary School are also putting in gardens at the school with the produce to be shared with Spirit Army families.
The students have been keeping New World seeds which are being labelled and sorted, a plan of the garden is being drafted and high producing varieties of veggie selected for planting.
This completely fits the school’s curriculum according to principal Callan Goodall.
“Our Catholic character is about reaching out to others and by doing something practical like growing veggies the children can see in themselves they have the ability to change and improve others’ lives – that is powerful learning.”
The Spirit Army approach is one family at a time, and each family has a mentor who visits regularly plus the wider army resources of wood, veggies, meat and helping hands. The more resources, the more families can be taken on.
The Spirit Army also runs three large veggie patches and is currently putting in 10 gardens in the homes of families it supports, with gardening mentors to help with the growing.
For more about the Spirit Army see the facebook page.