On September 6, Rotary District Governor Susan Zachensky-Walthall joined the three Rotary Clubs on the Eastern Shore of Virginia as they presented a $12,000 district grant to New Roots Youth Garden (NYRG) of Cape Charles, VA. The grant will allow NYRG to replace a rotting old farm stand, add a safe, stable concrete pad and make much needed improvements to the fencing. Along with the cash grant, members of the Cape Charles, Exmore and Onancock Rotary Clubs will provide many hours of “sweat equity” by actively helping in demolition, removal, building and installation of the farm stand, concrete slab and fencing.

Bill Murphy, a former President of the Cape Charles Rotary Club and Assistant District Governor representing the three Eastern Shore Clubs stated: “Each year for the past 4 years, the three Rotary Clubs of Cape Charles, Exmore and Onancock have come together to support one local Eastern Shore organization with a district grant award and joint volunteer service. These area grants beautifully exemplify the Rotary Motto ‘Service Above Self’ while making the Eastern Shore a better place for all who live here.” Past grants have benefited Eastern Shore Foodbank, Camp Occohannock, and Smart Beginnings Eastern Shore. NYRG children will be able to use the new, larger farm stand to sell the fruits and vegetables that they themselves grow in the garden beds.

Through hands-on involvement in garden activities, the children learn how to grow plants and vegetables from the seed stage through harvesting and placing on the dining table. Once they harvest the produce, the children weigh and price them by the pound to sell to customers, enhancing their basic math skills by calculating costs and making change and learning valuable merchandising, marketing and customer service skills. Throughout the process, children participate in fitness activities and develop a better understanding of how to eat a healthy, balanced meal.

NYRG President Brook Thomas explained: “This grant is so meaningful because it will allow NYRG to focus on activities and programs instead of maintenance. Cape Charles Rotary Club members have stepped up since we were established by 2011, painting our shed, planting, turning soil, weeding beds, and serving as role models to our kids. To have the support of all three Eastern Shore Rotary Clubs for this grant is incredible. When we unveil the final product later this year, I think it will be a moment our kids will remember for a lifetime, thanks to Rotary!”