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The Garden of Hope Dedication

Mar 13, 2023

After 2 years of planning, Emmanuel UCC held a Dedication Service on March 13 for the Garden of Hope, an all-accessible community garden made possible through a grant by NO KID HUNGRY.

The idea was planted by Steve Wills in 2021, inspired by his sister Cindy, who became wheelchair bound after a motorcycle accident on 27.   A week after sharing his idea, Emmanuel UCC received an unexpected e-mail from NO KID HUNGRY offering a grant for a food-related program.

Emmanuel responded and by June 15, received a $26,000 grant, which inspired others to donate, such as Advanced Drainage System, FL Glass & Mirror, Leisure Acres, LOWES, FL UCC Conference and Hobby Hill.

By November 2022 the Garden was built, made up of 4 standing plots.  Two plots are tended to by the GREEN BEAN TEAM” from ARC.  One plot is tended to by Alberta Rolle.  The fourth plot is a herb garden cared for by Joannie Davis and Millie Grime.

On Monday morning at 10 am, Rev. George Miller led the Dedication, featuring representatives from NO KID HUNGRY, the FL UCC CONFERENCE, ARC, Leisure Acres, as well as Sheriff Blackman, Mayor Shoop, Public Information Officer Scott Dressel, and County Commissioners Kevin Robets and Scott Kirouc.

After a time of prayer, the Gardeners were introduced and greeted with applause.  Steve Wills and Michael Griffith, architect of the garden, cut the ribbon, and before Mayor Shoop offered a blessing of the garden he shared the good news that his 4th grandchild has just been born.

After the blessing, people put on colorful socks to show their support of Developmental Disability Awareness Week and to pose with the consumers of ARC.  Everyone gathered into the Fellowship Hall for light refreshments and the music of Steve Kempe.

Next up for Emmanuel UCC is an indoor Community Refrigerator which will be open 1 day a week for fresh produce and meats.

Emmanuel UCC can be reached at 863-214-4101 or

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