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Community News: Garden benefits community

Monique Parra
Staff Writer

From feeding neighbors from a single seed to now feeding over 6,000 people each month, Sowing Seeds for Life provides groceries twice a month to families who live in Los Angeles County between downtown Los Angeles and Claremont.

Sowing Seeds for Life, a non-profit organization, began in 2007 when Vicki Brown, CEO of DPI Labs, decided she wanted to give back to her community.

Starting with $100 that was given to her from her minister at Glenkirk Presbyterian Church in Glendora, Brown collected the supplies she needed to start her garden.

“I kept hearing bury the money in the ground, but take a chance and have faith,” Brown said.

Brown started her garden with thyme, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and other vegetables began to grow and headed out to local areas to hand out vegetables grown in her garden.

Brown shared a story of when she came across a young boy and handed him a bell pepper. She said she was saddened to see that he had never seen a bell pepper before and would rather have macaroni and cheese.

“It opened my eyes of people that needed food in my community; La Verne, Glendora, San Dimas and Pomona,” Brown said.

“We always think we are pretty well off and I have never see the poverty in between,” Brown said.

“It has grown in the past year by 1,000 people,” Pomona volunteer Yvette Carraon said.

With help from volunteers and sponsors of the La Verne community, Sowing Seeds for Life distributes groceries to families in the parking lot of DPI Labs every first and third Wednesday of the month from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“It really helps out so many families like myself, I started coming here when I was first unemployed and now I volunteer too,” Pomona resident Martha Alfaro said.

Students from Damien High School and the University of La Verne are among the many volunteers that give their time to the organization.

They allow walk-in volunteers as well and encourage those who walk-in to have closed toe shoes and a solid color t-shirt.

“I’ve been participating for the past three months and the organization gives me a sense of fulfillment,” Justin Lin, Damien High School freshman, said.

Chicken, meat, bread, rice, chips, vegetables, cereal, soap, water and other groceries are donated by local markets including Target, Vons, Food 4 Less and local banks.

“The groceries we get last two weeks and we have six people in my family,” Covina resident Alejandra Carrera said.

Throughout the year fundraisers are held to support Sowing Seeds for Life like the annual celebrity golf tournament.

Retired NBA stars Jerry West and James Worthy are among the list of celebrities that participate in the charity event.

Sowing Seeds for Life does annual holiday celebrations including: Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas celebration with games, food and pictures with Santa Claus and gives out Easter baskets to children under 13-years-old with a picture with the Easter Bunny.

The next event to be hosted by Sowing Seeds for Life called Stamp Out Hunger will take place May 11. Post offices across the country start a food collection and donate the food to local charities to benefit the community.

For more information about volunteering or donating to Sowing Seeds for Life, visit sowingseedsforlife.org.

Monique Parra can be contacted at monique.parra@laverne.edu.

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