Volunteer Profile: Gardener Jill Reese
The main attraction to FYI’s community garden program is the ability to grow fresh vegetables to feed your family, despite not having your own land to grow it on. But that’s not what attracted volunteer Jill Reese to the program.
“We actually got acquainted through the tower garden,” said Jill Reese of the unique indoor growing project that was located in FYI’s conference room for years. “Then they asked if I wanted to be involved in the community garden, so I decided to try it. I have learned so much because I had never done a garden before.”
She is in her third year as a community gardener and actually doesn’t mainly do it for the vegetables.
“The community of gardeners have such a close bond,” Reese said, who also volunteered three years with FYI’s mentoring program. “We come from a lot of different backgrounds. But they are so accepting, and they are so giving and helpful. They don’t withhold anything.”
As Reese became more devoted to the garden, she also brought her husband, Brian, and a few other men along to help.
“He has his own business and does what he can,” she said. “He feels really connected with the guys there and feels he can show them God’s love. Their hearts are as big as they can be.
Gardening For Health Director Jim Tipton points to Reese as a reason for the garden’s recent success.
“The manpower really helps,” Reese said. She is also a part of the New Carlisle Rotary, is active in her church and has been involved with the New Carlisle Farmers’ Market. “Now that more guys have come on board who are willing to do so much and not get anything in return, the garden has really thrived.”
From Reese’s perspective, there’s so many reasons to help with the garden.
“I have gained knowledge for sure, but also friendships and relationships,” she said. “I’ve also learned about the need for this type of community effort and being able to give. We gave over 1,200 pounds (to a local food pantry) last year. There is no reason we can’t give even more this year.”
But above that, the mission remains the heartbeat of her motivation.
“We’re there to help others to have opportunities to put healthier food on the table, which they don’t have access to otherwise,” Reese said. “It’s a ministry for us to do together. He (Brian) has gotten a lot more involved with me. These relationships have been a highlight in our lives. They have impacted our lives in a big way.”
Tipton is grateful to have her as a volunteer.
“She’s a good woman,” Tipton said. “She’s really dedicated to the community. She’s been a great addition to the garden. We are blessed to have her.”
For more information on FYI’s Community Garden or to volunteer, call (937) 845-0403 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.