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Glancer Magazine

TO GIVE, TO INSPIRE | The Garden Works Project

WEST SUBURBAN COMMUNITY PANTRY AND THE GARDENWORKS PROJECT It is spring, and I am starting to plan out my garden for the summer – which vegetables would I like more of, which should I eliminate. My kids have fun picking our fresh food off the vines and watching me turn it into food on the table. It is a great way to eat healthy while also saving a few bucks! That concept is exactly why the West Suburban Community Pantry (WSCP) partners with The GardenWorks Project each spring.

The WSCP offers food for the hungry and resources to empower them to improve the quality of their life. Clients can visit the pantry twice a month for a full food order and then weekly to supplement produce and bread. In addition, they offer child and senior hunger programs and empowerment services. These services include job readiness, financial training, nutrition education and personalized client case management services. The WSCP’s partnership with The GardenWorks Project is an integral part of these empowerment services.



The GardenWorks Project is a stand alone 501c3 that provides families in need with the resources to grow their own food at home, which encourages self-sufficiency and reduces their dependence on food pantries. A GardenWorks Project volunteer will assist each client to build a 4’ x 8’ raised bed garden (or balcony container if yard space is not available), plant seeds and seedlings, maintain the garden and harvest the food. Each garden is provided a garden coach to ensure a successful first year and continued support in year two and three. “This program allows our clients to grow nutritious food at home to supplement the offerings they receive at our food pantry, which is often shelf-stable, highly processed and high in fat and sodium” says Laura Coyle, Executive Director of the West Suburban Community Pantry.

“The partnership has proven to be highly productive for both organizations and our client base. It follows the ‘teach a man to fish’ philosophy of self-sufficiency, which we love.” The GardenWorks Project works with 34 local food pantries to identify clients who are both in need and wish to learn home food production skills. A volunteer orientation and kick-off to the upcoming spring build is scheduled for April 18th at 7pm at the Wheaton Community Center. No gardening experience is necessary. To learn more about volunteering or donating to the West Suburban Community Pantry, you can visit their website at OR for more information about getting involved directly with The GardenWorks Project, visit

Mindy’s April Giving Inspiration: Let someone cut in front of you at the grocery store.

ABOUT THE WRITER Mindy Kyle is the owner of Be Inspired Studios and is passionate about helping people discover what brings them joy and to live a full, healthy and happy life. She has her Masters in Fine Arts degree in creative writing from DePaul University and lives in Naperville with her husband, three children and the cutest dog in the land.

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