When Orange County Rescue Mission’s Village of Hope was designed, I wanted to have a garden incorporated into the area as a place for the students to be able to experience nature as well as witness the fruit of their labor. A garden seemed to me to be a perfect representation of the love that happens here at Village of Hope.
The garden was included in Village of Hope’s design, however it was waiting for someone just like Eric to nurture it into the bountiful, fruitful garden it is today.
Eric has a gift for making spaces beautiful with flowers, plants and trees. But his life fell apart when both of his parents became ill. His drinking spiraled out of control. He came to the Orange County Rescue Mission, and when he mentioned what line of work he had been in, the counselor knew just where to assign him for his volunteer work duties.
“They had a garden in the back, not being used to the full extent,” Eric says. “I saw so much potential!” Because of Eric’s meticulous care, the 100% organic Garden of Hope is thriving.
And Eric has built a program to help others, like himself, find healing in the act of getting their hands dirty, and teaching children where their food comes from “We’ve created a sustainable program here,” Eric says, “[A] six-week training so we can pass on this passion from one student to another.”
Eric’s background as a landscape contractor helped bring the garden at the Village of Hope to life. Through his skill and painstaking attention to detail, the garden now produces many herbs and vegetables used in the Village of Hope kitchen, and helps to keep our food costs down.
The garden is tended by Village of Hope residents. Working in the garden provides another form of therapy to help residents journey toward health and restoration.
Your generous gifts help people find hope again by allowing them to use their unique gifts — sometimes hidden, like a tiny seed buried in the earth — toward worthwhile, meaningful work.