Fourteen years ago, the Social Action Committees of two Aberdeen Township synagogues, Temple Beth Ahm and Temple Shalom, and the Matawan United Methodist Church began a community project to help feed the neighbors. There was a need for fresh vegetables for the weekly clients of the food pantry at the Matawan UMC. A Giving Garden was established on the grounds of Temple Shalom, with all the produce going to the food pantry. With a volunteer group composed of members from both synagogues, the garden was off and growing in the summer of 2010.
Since then, volunteer participation has expanded to community residents, school groups, and Scout troops.
Now, the need for fresh vegetables has outgrown what the existing garden can produce. To meet this need, The Board of Trustees of Temple Beth Ahm sanctioned a section of the synagogue grounds as an area where another giving garden could be created.
A small committee approached The Home Depot in Hazlet with a proposal, hoping for a grant from The Home Depot Foundation to help build the garden. That grant was approved and, with materials and volunteers provided by Team Depot, The Home Depot’s associate volunteer force, five 4’ x 10’ raised garden beds were constructed, filled, and made ready for planting.
The raised beds provide for easier planting, care, and harvesting of the vegetables, allowing community members of all ages and abilities to participate. As the garden becomes a reality, there is a need for more community volunteers to help.
The temple is thankful and proud of the progress the partnership with The Home Depot Foundation has made, and there is more to be done. You can be a part of this important project too—no need for a “green thumb” nor experience. Novices can be paired up with knowledgeable volunteers. The Giving Garden is also still in need of funding for fencing to keep animals out, to construct five additional raised beds, and for an irrigation system.
For more information, to volunteer in this project, or to donate funds to help, please visit https://www.templebethahm.org or email GardenCommittee@TempleBethAhm.org.