The United Way of Greater Kingsport, in partnership with AARP, have launched the Harvest of Hope: Growing with Kingsport community garden in downtown Kingsport to feed and support the homeless in our community.
The Harvest of Hope: Growing with Kingsport community garden project is the first initiative developed by United Way's Safety and Stability Vision Council and the Food Security Initiative. Located on Charlemont Avenue, the use of the property is being donated by First Presbyterian Church and is adjacent to the Interfaith Hospitality Network facility. The UWGK, in partnership with the AARP, has provided grant funds to support the project. The City of Kingsport, as well as Master Gardens of Northeast Tennessee, are also contributing to the project.
In 2007, the United Way of Greater Kingsport began investigating root causes to address identified needs in our community. Hunger was one of the identified areas of concern. To combat hunger in Kingsport, a Food Security Task Force was formed under the guidance of the United Way of Greater Kingsport's Safety and Stability Vision Council.
The UWGK facilitated two Food Security Forums in 2008, identifying short and long-term solutions to close gaps in current services available to those needing food assistance. The Food Security Task Force identified three areas of focus to address hunger in our community:
- Community Gardens
- Increased usage of Summer Feeding Program
- Awareness of Hunger Issues in our Area
Further research by the AARP and Kingsport's 211 Contact Concern placed greater emphasis on food security. According to a recent survey, local statistics showed a marked increase in the number of residents participating in community food assistance programs. In addition, the number of calls for food assistance to 211 Contact Concern increased significantly since 2007.
The Harvest of Hope garden includes 25 raised beds, some of which are handicap accessible and child-friendly. These beds will be maintained by residents of Interfaith Hospitality Network, the Salvation Army, and Hope Haven, and will provide food for the homeless as well as a place of healing and hope.
To participate in the 2012 Harvest of Hope community garden, fill out the 2012 Application Form and return it to the United Way of Greater Kingsport by email at Kchildress@uwaykpt.org or by fax at (423) 578-4059.