To usher in the fall harvest season, Mercy Home kids and coworkers recently enjoyed a Garden Dinner with a menu full of vegetables grown by our young people.

In the spring, youth residential programs were assigned vegetable plots that included tomatoes, peppers, kale, Swiss chard, zucchini, and cucumbers. Throughout the growing season, kids helped plant and tend the gardens.

“The kids were very instrumental in helping plant the vegetables,” said Donor Relations Representative Rosalinda Masson. As point person for the Garden Team, Rosalinda collaborated with coworkers Iman Kort, Tara Lucas, and Anthony, a former resident and current AfterCare member who interned as a gardening assistant.

“…the group oversaw gardening operations and worked side-by-side with our kids, who explored their green thumbs and learned about where their food comes from.”

Together, the group oversaw gardening operations and worked side-by-side with our kids, who explored their green thumbs and learned about where their food comes from. Once vegetables were ready for harvest, Rosalinda communicated with Manager of Food Service Operations Nyah Griffin and Kitchen Cook Eric Lewis, who often picked the vegetables.

Prior to the Garden Dinner, kids researched recipes using their designated vegetables. Once kids voted on the recipes, they sent them to Chef Nyah and her team, who executed the dishes.

“The dinner was absolutely amazing,” said Rosalinda. “The recipes were so exquisite!” The menu featured Noha Home’s Best Fresh Tomato Salsa and Tomato Soup, Speh Home’s Garden Fresh Pizza Sauce, Kelly Home’s Kale and Walnut Pesto, Quille Home’s Chard with Brussel Sprouts, Bosco Home’s Smoked Chicken Banana Pepper Soup, Mahoney Home’s Farmer’s Market Vegetarian Quesadilla, Cooke Home’s Tex-Mex Stuffed Peppers, and Daley Home’s Zucchini and Shrimp Noodles.

Rosalinda, an avid gardener in her spare time, sees many similarities between the kids she helped and the plants they nurtured. The great metamorphosis of growing fruits and vegetables, she says, parallels the transformation many of our kids experience.

“Kids at Mercy Home are like the seeds we get when we plant the garden. When the kids first arrive, they’re blowing around and don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said. “Then suddenly they find themselves in the perfect mix of nutrients and care. I see them blossom, as they grow up to become wonderful humans.”

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