The Plano Rotary Club donated $1,500 in a matching grant to help Plano Community Garden build a new shed and in support of their mission of feeding the hungry and encouraging gardening in the city of Plano.
In 2016, Michael Welz, chairman of the Plano Community Garden, spoke at a meeting of the Plano Rotary Club telling the members about the garden project, the growth in interest and their outreach to the Kendall County Community Food Pantry, to offer fresh fruits and vegetable for the needy. During the discussion afterward, Welz shared his wish that the garden could build a larger shed.
The Rotarians decided that day to match the funds generated by local citizens towards the building of a new shed. Rather than just giving money towards the project, the Rotarians discussed their hope to encourage the rest of the community to participate too, and they decided to propose a matching grant. Plano Rotary Club told the Plano Community Garden that they would donate up to a $1,500 match.
In February, Gardener Connie Hatter attended a regular meeting to report that the community garden had reached their goal, and she was presented with a check from Plano Rotary Club for $1,500.
“We have two metal sheds,” Hatter explained. “Both are rusting and full of gardening supplies. Our goal was to raise $3,000 or more to build a larger shed. With the Rotary Club’s help we did make our goal plus a little."
Three local companies have been secured to help the gardeners build.
“ServPro of Kendall County is going to help us frame,” Hatter said. “A& B Exterior in Sandwich is donating and installing the roof, and they will also install the siding.”
Hatter arranged for a donation of a garage door, which will be installed by JD doors in Big Rock.
The gardeners are still hoping to find sponsors for the gravel base and signage. They hope to start building at the end of March or early April, weather permitting, Hatter told the club.
The Plano Community Garden is an Illinois not-for-profit corporation. From the beginning, the gardeners have dedicated planted plots specifically for the Kendall County Community Food Pantry.
“Last year we planted, picked, washed and delivered 7,200 pounds of fresh produce to the pantry,” Hatter said. Since 2009, the garden has donated over 22.5 ton of produce with all volunteer labor.
She explained that operating the garden is a challenge. “We receive no money from any government body,” Hatter said. “Because we are not a 501 C3, we are not eligible for money from national foundations. The only money we get is from our individual gardeners. The garden does not own the land, but we pay insurance as well as gas and repairs on whatever used equipment we have acquired.”
Hatter offered her thanks to the city of Plano though for their support. “The city of Plano has been very good to us,” she said. “They have donated water, garbage pickup, disposal of our yard waste, and the use of their big tractor/tiller.”
Plano Community Garden posts photographs and updates of their progress throughout the growing season at their Facebook page: Plano Community Garden, Illinois.
The mission of Rotary International is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through its fellowship of business, professional and community leaders.
Plano Rotary Club meets weekly at noon. Meetings include lunch and information, guest speakers, and reports on club projects, including Interact Club at Plano High School, Sherman R. Cook Memorial Scout Park, and scholarship projects to support local youth. For more information on projects supported by Plano Rotary Club, contact Rich Healy at firstname.lastname@example.org.