- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 26, 2015

NEW LENOX, Ill. (AP) - The Sabec brothers of New Lenox are growing vegetables that will be given to a community that helped them rebuild their crumbling childhood home.

The rainy weather this summer hasn’t been too kind to their gardens, but the brothers are determined to grow what they can for the New Lenox Township food pantry and anybody who helped give new life to their previously deteriorating home.

“I want to plant something for everybody, you know? I want to pay it forward,” Ray Sabec said.

Volunteers with Sharefest of New Lenox and Operation Nehemiah paid it forward last summer by helping Ray, along with his brothers Don and Lawrence, with construction work on the home they lived in since the 1940s. Their home was rebuilt by early October.

Since then, the brothers have been busy growing dozens of tomatoes, a variety of peppers, whole beans, green beans and more. Ray said he’s been learning tips online and plans to create a greenhouse.



Ray was in his backyard Friday with his brother, Don, pulling weeds out of the garden where the heirloom tomatoes are growing.

He said if the green beans grow right, he expects to have as much as 125 pounds. But the heavy rains this summer has proven difficult for much of the gardens’ progress.

“I expected a lot more plants. . But you know what, it’s a start,” Ray said.

He said their backyard has had gardens for about 60 years. His father used to grow and sell horseradish.

“Dad grew stuff for everybody,” he said.

Gary Cheney, a Sharefest organizer who helped the brothers with their new home, said he couldn’t be more proud.

“I’m so proud of them that they stepped up to do this. They’re doing this on their own. These guys are out there in the garden by themselves,” he said.

Their work is needed, as food pantries in New Lenox and Frankfort welcome hundreds of visitors, Cheney said. He said there are a lot of people who could use vegetables instead of just canned goods.

Sharefest is in the middle of fundraising for a new project to complete interior work for a New Lenox Township food pantry. Cheney said his organization is trying to raise between $15,000 to $20,000 for the project, which includes a freezer and walk-in cooler.

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Source: The (Joliet) Herald-News, https://bit.ly/1TVijS0

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Information from: The Herald-News, https://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/heraldnews

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