- Associated Press - Sunday, May 3, 2015

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (AP) - Two churches are working together to provide free and healthy produce while helping participants battle drug problems.

Bill Hess, a member of Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church, donated the ground for a garden to be cultivated by participants through the Day Report Center in Parkersburg.

Produce from the garden will be taken to two Healthy Spot Farm Stands at Mt. Pleasant and at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Parkersburg, said Pastor Scot Clark of Mt. Pleasant.

“This is an opportunity where I am connecting some dots,” Clark said.

Those fighting an addiction will work in the garden, which is about 50-feet square with additional ground available, Hess said.

Hess’ involvement is because a member of his family is battling an addiction. He was willing to donate the ground for a garden.

“I said I’d be happy to,” he said.

The garden, located off 26th Avenue in south Parkersburg, will give participants something to do rather than look for drugs, Clark said.

“Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” he said.

The site on 26th Avenue is on the bus line, Hess said. Many of the participants do not have their own transportation, he said.

While the garden aids participants, the aim is to provide healthy produce to the community, Clark said. It’s another way to connect the people and the churches and help those of modest means.

“The goal is to get free produce into the hands of those who need it most,” he said.

The produce will be available at the Healthy Spots at the churches, Clark said. Other sources of food that will be cultivated include home gardeners who have surplus produce, he said.

A massive plant day when most of the crops will be sowed will be scheduled for the first week of June, Hess said. A work schedule also will be organized until harvest time.

To be planted are the usual garden varieties of tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, cabbage and other staples, except corn, Clark said. Corn is available numerous places, he said.

“I think we’re going to concentrate on salad stuff,” Clark said.

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Information from: News and Sentinel (Parkersburg, W.Va.), https://www.newsandsentinel.com

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