Kathy Williams, a board member of Neighbors of Hope, introduced Tim Ruple the Wellness Director for the organization which includes the Men’s Mission and Fishes & Loaves Food Pantry.
Tim started his presentation by thanking us for our support over the last two years. He said he appreciated what we did for the 3rd Day Farm Project and the impact it had on him personally when he joined the Neighbors of Hope after serving in the military oversees. The farm project was actually a new venture for Tim and those at the mission who had to learn farming techniques. Yet over time it smoothed out and is now a huge benefit to HOH and allows them to be more self-sufficient.
 The fresh produce grown will be sold at local Farmers’ Markets he said. It will also be given away at their food pantry. They will be exploring additional partnerships with farms in the area to expand what they grow. There is a link between poverty and obesity, Tim said. So, this program will encourage people to eat better. In addition to this, meal cards will be distributed to teach people how to cook along with instructional videos on their website.
Tim said he still wants to promote the 3rd Day Farm Project as a community event that will attract any number of volunteers. They have a site in Blissfield in addition to the one at Bethany Assembly of God Church. He has appointed leaders at both sites who will be responsible for recruiting volunteers. The key to their success, he said, was to insure sustainability. He’ll be working to reduce the water usage at one site and provide more at the other. Tim said he’d be working on time management and organization techniques in light of fewer volunteers but with an expanded work load especially when it comes to keeping the fields free of weeds.
Ideally, any field they till would not need to be tilled in the future. Volunteers would simply go in and add compost, mulch and straw to it so that it would retain water. Tim said he would like to see our club donate their time and finances as we have in the past and help grow this enterprise. As a side note, Rod reminded members that we painted the pole barn out on the Bethany property and donated enough money ($5,000) to purchase a rototiller. Tim said he would pick a date members could once again could participate in a worker-bee.
Tim concluded his presentation by updating members on the proposed women’s shelter and said that they are still looking for a suitable location while exploring three facilities that would house 8, 18 and 54 people.