June 17, 2013

Skowhegan-Madison Elks grant helps fund community garden

Morning Sentinel Staff

SKOWHEGAN -- A groundbreaking ceremony was held June 13 for a vegetable garden at the Skowhegan Community Center, thanks to a $2,000 grant from the Elks National Foundation, according to a Greater Somerset Public Health Collaborative press release.

The grant was awarded to the Skowhegan-Madison Elks Lodge, which worked with the Greater Somerset Public Health Collaborative on the garden project. "In past years, we've made donations to food pantries and many other charitable causes," said Mike Lange, chairman of the Skowhegan-Madison Elks ENF committee, in the release. "This year, we were looking for another way to address hunger issues, but on a long-term basis."

Kristie LeBlanc and Matt L'Italien of the Greater Somerset Public Health Collaborative worked with Recreation Director Denise LeBlanc to identify specific community needs and came up with the garden concept.

The community center garden will be constructed in a 28-foot-by-40-foot area with nine raised beds. There will be four feet between each bed to accommodate workers and wheelbarrows, and make it handicapped-accessible. The garden will be fenced in to protect against human and animal damage.

The Recreation Department will have a volunteer master gardener to help families who are unfamiliar with gardening techniques.

The grant will pay for materials only; all labor will be donated by the Recreation Department staff and volunteers.

A previous Elks National Foundation grant paid for materials and labor for a water line to a garden on lodge property that's being used by residents of Spring House Gardens, a senior citizen housing project.

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