The Perry-Area Food Pantry garden, now in its second year of life at Crossroads Church in Perry, had a growth spurt Friday when it received a $1,000 grant from Hy-Vee Inc.
The pantry is a project of the New Opportunities Dallas County Family Development Center and provides families in Dallas County with fresh produce from the garden.
The grant was one of 164 given to community organizations around the Midwest this spring as part of the Hy-Vee One Step program, which uses a portion of the proceeds from the sale of earth-friendly, everyday products to benefit charitable causes.
The $1,000 grants are used to purchase seeds, plants, garden tools and food preservation equipment for the community gardens.
The grant was awarded Friday by Matt May, Hy-Vee store director in Perry, and Larry Vodenik, Hy-Vee community involvement coordinator. Receiving the grant were New Opportunities Director Brandi Valdez and Assistant Director Esmeralda Banales.
Crossroads Church Pastor Rick Gates was also on hand for the passing of the big check. Crossroads Church houses the New Opportunities offices and donated the land for the garden.
“We have two missions,” said Karen Ventura, former director of New Opportunities, when the garden was founded last spring. “The first is providing fresh produce to the Perry-Area Food Pantry and, second, bringing people together to promote self-sufficiency in growing their own vegetables.”
New Opportunities provides services to seven central Iowa counties. The New Opportunities Dallas County Family Development Center offers a wide variety of programs, including Head Start and Early Head Start, addiction prevention and treatment and other health services, WIC and food pantry, heating and weatherization services and many others. Many of their clients are elderly. Virtually all are low-income residents of Dallas County.
Hy-Vee Inc. has awarded more than 580 garden grants since 2013, and the One Step program has donated more than $894,000 in product sales since its inception in 2011.