A collection of community gardens in the Des Moines area has the goal of growing food to feed the local hungry. All of the food they grow is donated to local food pantries — over four tons of fresh vegetables donated in 2013 to the Des Moines Area Religious Council, the Eddie Davis Community Center and the food distribution program at Trinity Methodist Church. Here’s how JustFaith Ministries helped make this happen:

Tim Goldman, a commissioned presenter of Centering Prayer through Contemplative Outreach, completed the JustFaith program in 2010.  Before the JustFaith program, Tim viewed the plight of poor and hungry people as problems he could do nothing about, recalling “The poor you will always have with you” (Mt 26:11) to justify turning his eyes away from human suffering and misery.

After JustFaith, Tim felt called to the hunger ministry at the Faith & Grace Garden, which was at that time a small parish garden beside St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in West Des Moines, Iowa. Tim assisted veteran gardener, Mark Marshall, in growing food on the 50’ x 50’ plot.

Today, Tim continues to help Mark in the garden and recruits garden volunteers, over 300 of them in 2013. The garden now covers one-acre and provides 10,000+ pounds of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables each year to local food pantries and other food distribution outlets. As important as the food grown there, is the community that supports the garden. Remembering JustFaith teachings about the important of living in relationship with the poor, the Faith & Grace Garden provides common ground for people from all walks of life and diverse circumstances to work and to pray together.