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Bountiful Blessings for Food Pantry Families

Stories of Hope

September 07, 2021

Volunteer-run Lacy Garden fosters community, promotes healthy living

St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry shopper Donna delighted in the variety and freshness of vegetables she received during a recent pantry visit. “My family loves the tomatoes best,” Donna noted. “And it’s fresher than what I could get at the grocery store!”

Fresh is correct. Cabbages, broccoli, beans, tomatoes and more are grown at the Lacy Food Pantry Garden in Fitchburg. The vegetables arrive at the pantry the evening of their harvest and are distributed to clients within a day or two. The Lacy Garden, one of several food pantry gardens in Dane County, produces an average of about 18,000 pounds of fresh vegetables for the food pantry each year. It is the only pantry garden that provides produce exclusively to the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry.

The Lacy Garden is run entirely by volunteers, with hundreds of individuals planting, weeding, watering and harvesting each year from April through October. Some volunteer as individuals or family groups; others come from area businesses or schools to work together for a good cause.

“My affiliation with Lacy Garden has been deeply satisfying,” said Peg O’Donoghue, Volunteer Coordinator for Lacy Garden. “It is a story of ingenuity, generosity and community.”

“Co-founders Ken Witte and Emmett Schulte devised a way of bringing nutritious produce to local food pantries nearly 25 years ago. Generosity from Phil and Winnie Lacy who donated farm acreage for cultivation 22 years ago, continuing to today. And it is community-built by volunteers, those who have served for many years and those who are just finding the Lacy Garden,” said O’Donoghue.

“It is a privilege to witness God’s Blessing each year,” affirmed Tom Parslow, Garden Leader. “And to watch these small seeds emerge, grow and mature into nutrient filled produce is a true miracle.”

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