AmeriCorps helps church plant seeds for neighbors

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, February 18, 2014

On a lot at the corner of East Avenue and Ida Street, where a brick house once stood, preparations are underway to revitalize a community asset.

Monday, a group of about 20 AmeriCorps workers removed weeds and spread dirt with members of Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church to prepare the church-owned lot to become the church’s second community garden.

“I suggested the idea to the our pastor, Rev. Mincer Minor, that we use the lot for a community garden, and the church agreed,” church member Karen Frederick said. “We started it last year.

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“The people in the neighborhood didn’t quite understand, but given the bounty we got from it — tomatoes, okra, bell peppers and corn — I think this year we’ll see more participation. They understand now that this will be for the whole community.”

When work began last year, she said, church members spent a lot of time pulling bricks from the lot’s previous occupant out of the ground.

“We could have built a subdivision with the bricks we pulled out,” she said.

This year, church members received help from a team of AmeriCorps volunteers from the East Coast, who were in the area.

AmeriCorps team leader Tim Koster said the group was from the organization’s Atlantic Region, based in Baltimore.

“This is a volunteer day for us,” he said. “There are 42 teams doing work across the city today.”

Frederick, who also heads up the restoration of Beulah Cemetery, said AmeriCorps called her about a possible project and she mentioned the garden.

Monday morning, the workers cut down a mound of dirt to start the process.

“Once we get that hill torn down, we’ll put topsoil on the garden,” Frederick said. “We’re hoping we can do a lot better this year.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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