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Kids plant community garden

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Maryam Brown, 10, hands out spinach plants Thursday while helping work on the community garden at the Lucy Ann Boddie Brewer Unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tar River Region.

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Staff Writer

Friday, April 20, 2018

A garden sprouted Thursday near downtown Rocky Mount.

Actually, the garden was already there. It just needed a face lift. Plants held by glove-covered hands made their way to the ground yesterday afternoon, all in the name of healthy living and community involvement.

The event — held as a part of U.S. Cellular’s “Month of Giving” — took place at the Lucy Ann Boddie Brewer Unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tar River Region in association with the organization’s partnership nationwide with the Boys & Girls Club. The garden, located to the right of the building, is made of six plant beds and was put in three years ago.

A cold winter had left some bleak looking dirt in those beds, but the people on hand — a handful of U.S. Cellular employees from the two stores in Rocky Mount, plus more than a dozen kids and club officials — were there with the goal of replenishing it.

The plants were bought by U.S. Cellular, which also announced on Thursday a $10,000 donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tar River Region. They were purchased from the Rev. Richard Joyner and the Conetoe Family Farms.

Once delivered to the garden, kids and volunteers were ready to get busy.

“What we’ve been trying to do is get these pop-up gardens all around town,” said Joyner, who founded Conetoe Family Farms.

U.S. Cellular as a whole donated $1 million to Boys & Girls Clubs across the country, according to a press release, including $71,000 to organizations in North Carolina.

The gift to the Rocky Mount location was specifically for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) opportunities. The efforts on Thursday were also a chance to do help with something unique.

“One way we look at this,” said Ronald Jackson, a local store manager for U.S. Cellular, “is we try to get the kids engaged with something totally different. Not only will it give kids an opportunity to plant different things, it could mean a different prospect in life entirely.”

An event the Brewer Unit has done in past years, Ron Green, chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Club of the Tar River Region, said he hopes to gain more traction this year.

“Hopefully they can get to loving the garden, take care of it more than they have in previous years,” he said. “Sometimes you got kids who don’t think it’s cool to be here, don’t want to get their hands dirty — but we’re hoping they get an opportunity to see how fun it can be.”

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