Gleaning Garden at Tel Hai

image provided Phoebe Kitson-Davis, Chester County Food Bank's Program Manager, visits Tel Hai resident, Dave Paton at the garden he and other residents have cultivated in support of the Gleaning Gardens program. The Chester County Food Bank serves over 40,000 households who don't have enough money for food.

Honey Brook Twp, PA-Dave Paton remembers Phoebe Kitson-Davis as one of the Associate Pastors at his West Chester church but changes along life's road have made them partners in the Chester County Food Bank's goal that 'no one should go hungry!' Kitson-Davis, a graduate of the Westtown Friends School and a former Peace Corps volunteer, is now the Program Manager at the food bank; Dave Paton, a retired CFO and church Elder, is now a Tel Hai resident and organizer of a garden plot on the retirement community's campus dedicated to growing vegetables in support of the food bank and their many food cupboards and feeding sites.

Paton, who takes great pleasure in his own veggie and flower gardens, has dedicated a 20x40 foot plot to growing food for the Chester County Food Bank this season. Already Dave has harvested Romaine and head lettuce and beets for delivery on Mondays and Tuesdays to the food bank location on Horseshoe Pike. The vegetables find their way into homes within 24 to 48 hours!

Kitson-Davis has adopted a new saying for the year regarding the filling of cupboards and stomachs of Chester County residents in need-'Get It or Grow It!' The Tel Hai community and many other organizations and churches hold regularly scheduled food drives and the goods and cash are always appreciated. Donations are needed every day of the year-and the need is expanding. Last year, the Tel Hai staff's Children's Outgrown Sale donated $4,500 in proceeds to support the Chester County Food Bank.

Growing food involves more than 40 farms across the county and numerous 'gleaning gardens' supported by churches and organizations like the volunteer effort at Tel Hai. 'The number of community gardens has grown from 220 to 450 this year,' Kitson-Davis stated during a recent visit to the gardens at Tel Hai.

Chester County may be the 24th wealthiest county in the United States-as stated in the Chester County Food Bank's video-but the need is great. From their 10,000 square foot building on Route 322 more than 1.9 million pounds of food are distributed each year. It is estimated that the food bank offers assistance to approximately 40,000 households in the county with fresh and non-perishable food items annually.

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