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Franklin County church uses garden to ‘love our neighbor in a real practical way’

Last year, volunteers harvested 3,500 pounds of fresh produce to give to area food banks

ROCKY MOUNT, Va. – Gardening for God’s children. That’s what Franklin Heights Church members are doing this summer.

It's also the name of the garden they've grown to help those in need.

That's what Franklin Heights church members are doing this summer. It's also the name of the garden they've grown to help those in need.
That's what Franklin Heights church members are doing this summer. It's also the name of the garden they've grown to help those in need. (Franklin Heights Church)

We caught up with the man now in charge who told us he doesn’t even have a farming background.

“It’s a community garden. The goal is to love our neighbor in a real practical way,” said Pastor Stan Parris at Franklin Heights Church.

This is the fourth year the garden has fed those in need in the Franklin County community.

The idea came about from volunteers.

“We had a couple of gardeners in the church and so they came to me and it was really all their idea and all their calling,” explained Parris.

Last year, those volunteers, including Brian McClung, harvested 3,500 pounds of fresh produce to give to area food banks, helping feed local families.

“I got involved with it last year. My wife and I were sitting there in church and trying to figure out how can we serve the church and be part of what Franklin Heights is doing,” said McClung.

This year, McClung is running this ministry.

One might assume he has a farming background, but he's actually a high school teacher.

“I’ve learned a lot by trial and error and google,” McClung said.

He's proof when it comes to helping people your availability is more important than your ability.

“Time’s a commodity not a lot of people have anymore and I’m just very lucky, during the summer I have a lot of time that I can help out. It just fit perfectly that this is the niche I need to be in,” McClung said.

“They’re kind of in the shadows but they’re doing this incredible act of love and kindness for people in the community,” said Parris.

Each vegetable is planted with prayer and harvested with love.

The church donates the produce two area non-profits and hands it out directly to those in need.


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