After a long year full of challenges that included ice dams, sprinkler malfunctions, and structural damage, the summer has been a time of rejuvenation at the Chase Home. Thanks to the tremendous generosity of Insurcomm and the incredible contributions from Lonza’s charity golf tournament, we’re happy to be getting the building back in working order.
The badly needed repairs to the building aren’t the only exciting upgrade; our garden has had a bit of a facelift as well, thanks to support and dedication of Portsmouth resident Heidi DiPietro and her family. The DiPietros have spent months doing the start-up work and getting the garden in order, including preparing the soil, composting, watering and planting vegetables and fruit bushes.
“Last year, we had staff and kids revitalize the garden,” said Executive Director Meme Wheeler, “which required a lot of sweat equity!” Wheeler adds that while “it was great to get the garden going again, it was a lot of pressure on the kids and we didn’t want it to turn into a punishment.”
For the kids served by the Chase Home, the DiPietro family’s efforts have transformed the garden from a chore into a productive source of healthy fresh fruits and vegetables. More than just a food source, though, the garden has become something of a learning environment.
“The kids enjoy caring for it and helping to prepare healthy meals,” Wheeler said. “As the organization continues work on their plan for an independent living facility for kids that ‘age out’ of the program, the garden offers the opportunity to develop additional life skills.”
With the growing season behind them, Wheeler is excited about the tremendous success and is enthusiastic about the community support. “It really worked having a local family adopt the garden,” said Wheeler, who is now looking forward to next year’s season.
The DiPietros will prepare the garden for the winter months to ensure that it is ready for next spring, and the Chase Home is hoping that another local family can fill the DiPietro’s shoes and take over the garden project.
To learn more about Chase Home or to offer to adopt the garden for 2016, www.chasehome.org, or email Meme at firstname.lastname@example.org.