DALLAS, TX---One of the simple pleasures of summer is harvesting vegetables from the backyard and savoring the taste of fresh produce for dinner.
For residents of Highland Springs, the Erickson Living retirement community in North Dallas, the joy of gardening also has a charitable purpose.
There are 52 garden beds sized 8' x 8' located on the 89-acre campus on Frankford Road. For the second consecutive year, the resident gardeners have donated surplus produce that they grow to the food bank of the Network of Community Ministries in Richardson (NETWORK).
Sam HeLal is president of the Highland Springs Garden Club. The 43-member group made a decision to "give back to the community around us. Gardening is a fun hobby, and it is rewarding to share some of the fruits of our labor."
During the past two springs, the Garden Club established a goal of delivering 100 pounds of fresh produce to the NETWORK. In 2011, four trips netted 99 pounds, but this summer, the group exceeded their target, donating 218 pounds.
The fresh items included rosemary, mint, potatoes, onions, a variety of squash, okra, peppers, tomatoes, cantaloupe and watermelon.
"We are quite proud to work with an organization such as the Network of Community Ministries," stated Mr. HeLal. "It's good to know that their work benefits the local area."
Robin Wilson, Director of Emergency Services for the NETWORK, stated that "from their clothing drive to the summer food donations, the residents of Highland Springs have truly embraced our mission. We distribute half a million pounds of food, and the fresh produce grown by the gardeners is a wonderful healthy option to provide to children."
"We rely on the generosity of businesses, schools and churches to supplement our programming. Food and clothing donations from these groups free up other resources to enhance our overall services," described Mrs. Wilson.
Based in Richardson, the Network of Community Ministries, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization that responds to human need by giving assistance with the goal of helping individuals achieve long-term independence. Its mission is "caring, coaching and empowering neighbors in need as they seek an improved quality of life."
Its service area encompasses fourteen zip codes in Dallas County. The NETWORK has three divisions: Emergency Services, Adolescent and Children's Clinic and Seniors' NET. For more information about volunteer opportunities, please visit www.thenetwork.org.
About Highland Springs: Highland Springs, managed and developed by Erickson Living, is a retirement community that provides worry-free living for America's seniors-the country's fastest growing population segment. Erickson Living's financial value and predictable monthly service fees provide residents across the country financial peace of mind. Comprehensive health and wellness services, integrated into our continuum of care, lead to demonstrated resident benefits. A robust complement of resident programs and facilities promote an engaged, fulfilling lifestyle that is reflected in resident satisfaction levels that exceed the industry average. For more information, please visit www.ericksonliving.com. ###