CHICAGO — A new community garden is coming to Woodlawn with a goal of bringing fresh produce to the food desert on the South Side.
On Friday — National Garden Day — Fifth Third Bank announced it will donate $1,000 to fund the garden being built for New Beginnings Church, 6620 S. King Drive. The bank also donated community gardens in Northwest Indiana and Rockford as part of its efforts to help fight hunger.
"We hope these gardens will inspire healthier food choices and help build unity in communities where nutritious food options have been limited and that these gardens are the first of many in the community for years to come," said Robert Sullivan, President and CEO of Fifth Third Bank Chicago.
Though the bank has already donated 200,000 meals to the Northern Illinois Food Bank this year it hopes the garden can help curb hunger problems in the future.
"Every year we raise and donate over 200 meals for them. This year, we did that but we wanted to do something more sustainable for the community," said Andrew Hayes, a spokesman for the bank. "This year we're building three and hope to have 10 gardens next year."
The bank also employed a garden expert to design the look of the garden based on the neighborhood. The Woodlawn garden will feature raised beds to produce foods that will grow well in containers such as tomatoes, basil, dwarf raspberries and a mixture of herbs, said Jessica Lyn Sinic, the garden expert.
The garden is a key component in beautifying the area where a community center is planned for the neighborhood, said the Rev. Corey Brooks of the New Beginnings Church.
"We're building a whole art display and the garden is part of it. It's going to be fun real fun," Brooks said, adding the garden will bring good vibes to a community that's often plagued by violence.
"We want to bring a positive outlook to the South Side and we believe building something beautiful like this on the South Side for people to see will be positive for the community," Brooks said.