Grant Recipient: Clinton County Community Action Program / Health & Wellness

Growing Success

Steve Barber, seasoned gardener, shows off his prized Walla Walla Sweet onions.

Thanks to an anonymous donor and the support of the Clinton County Foundation, we had multiple wins for our community, but most importantly our seniors were introduced to the healthy world of vegetable gardening.

The Clinton County Community Action Program (CCCAP) may be one of the best kept secrets in the county though many will recognize several of the projects they support to help reduce poverty: Head Start, the Food Pantry, the Aging Up Community Center operating at the Wilmington Savings Bank, Senior Housing at Clinton Commons I and II, Community Commons and Blanchester Senior Villas, and family housing at Clinton Glen and Wilmington Apartments, among others. In operation since 1965, the CCCAP is a local, private, nonprofit corporation funded primarily by Federal and State grants, as well as by income from for-hire services (Catering Connections and Clinton Maid), fundraising (Corn 5K Walk/Run) and a few local grants (HealthFirst, LEGACY Fund, Clinton County Foundation).

Recently, the CCCAP benefited from a multiple Win-Win. An anonymous donor was in search of a good cause to which to donate. Referred by a friend to the Clinton County Foundation, this donor was provided the Foundation’s financial and administrative expertise to establish a fund that benefited the CCCAP and enabled them to create vegetable gardens for the CCCAP’s senior housing apartments. Turning to recently retired Wilmington College Ag professor, Monte Anderson, the CCCAP was able to enlist his support and knowledge to transform old, deteriorated gardens into fresh and fruitful garden beds. Nearly 14 seniors including Steve Barber, Lisa Keys, Greg Pitzer and Linda Vantress donated their time in building and installing 16 new beds. Not only have they benefited from having access to fresh food, but they’ve also enjoyed being outdoors, socializing and getting in some exercise. “Every garden bed has a story,” explained Monte. “One gardener traded his beans for zucchini to make zucchini bread, while another learned how to can some of the vegetables from her garden. It was amazing to see how the gardeners helped each other from watering one another’s beds to helping carry vegetables to a fellow gardener’s apartment.”

“Thanks to an anonymous donor and the support of the Clinton County Foundation, we had multiple wins for our community – it enabled the CCCAP to support a new program, the donor was able to achieve her objectives, Monte got to exercise his expertise, but most importantly our seniors were introduced to the healthy world of vegetable gardening,” shared Jane Newkirk, CEO of the CCCAP. Who knew growing a few veggies could have such a broad impact. And next year, the plan is to double the number of garden beds, so watch out!