Eau Claire church grows vegetable garden to help fight food insecurity

Local News

Eau Claire, Wisc. (WLAX/WEUX)- The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on many unexpected obstacles including the increase in food insecurity in the community. Members of First Presbyterian church in Eau Claire are busy trying to fill that need through growing vegetables. “This is First Presbyterian church garden, I am doing a little planting here. When I see things grow, I am really happy. Now I come out here every day,” said Bilhenry Walker.  He has taken his skills to the First Presbyterian church garden. “I am kind of the organizer,” said B. Walker. Along with his wife, Minister Kathy Walker.

“This is radishes that we just recently planted,” said Minister Kathy Walker.  Where the food grown here is donated to those who need it most. “It is a mission project of the church we are trying to help people who are food insecure. We are taking it to St. Francis pantry,” said K. Walker.  Every tomato, there is one getting ripe in there. Eggplant. We have some yummy white ones the roots are crazy. And rutabaga. No roots are alike.

Not only providing nutrition for the community but also an opportunity for parishioners to work together. It’s been great lots of people contribute and make it a real good space.

 “We wanted to engage the entire church. We have young people doing it and we have elders doing it really elders in their 90s.” B. Walker said. 

“This year I decided to get my hands dirty and I talked my daughter into doing it with us.” Joyce Crowell said. The two work in the garden every Sunday.  “What have we been doing here Heather? We have been watering the plants and trying to get rid of the beetles,” said Heather Meitner and Crowell.

For the last three years. this garden project has helped provide food for people in Eau Claire.

This year serving an even larger purpose. As many struggle with their finances due to COVID-19. “So, we are hoping to produce more food this year than we have in the past two years.” K. Walker said. 

Which is why church members continue to spend hours each week tending to the garden in order to meet their goal of donating 600 pounds of vegetables.  “When the veggies are ready to be picked there are going to be a lot of them.” Meitner said. “The more we can provide the better.” K. Walker said.   You never know when you will be in a position to need help someday so it is fun to be in a position to help others and it is fun to do.” Crowell said. 

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