Magic words yield fruit…and veggies!

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Colorado Springs Red Shield wins a greenhouse.

Say “Please.” Children from the Colorado Springs Red Shield Center ask for an “Edible Garden.”

Children at The Salvation Army Red Shield Community Center in Colorado Springs are thrilled. In an effort to fulfill a dream of providing a garden for the kids, Noelle Dunnan, director of the center, submitted a group picture and a 500-word essay to the Reader’s Digest contest, “Win an Edible Garden,” in hopes of obtaining the grand prize of a 12-by-16-foot greenhouse worth $10,000.

“It’s been a dream to have a garden, but we haven’t had money in the budget,” said Dunnan. In an earlier endeavor, the kids grew plants in a light box, which they then donated to the local Care and Share Food Bank’s community garden.

Notice of the competition appeared in the March issue of Reader’s Digest and caught the eye of Melissa Marts, Care and Share coordinator, who urged Dunnan to enter. Dunnan’s essay detailed her vision for a garden planted, tended, and harvested by low-income children and shared with families in the area—the young caretakers growing food to feed their own families.

Reader’s Digest revealed the school’s place as one of eight semifinalists during the summer while Dunnan was on vacation, so she wasn’t there to encourage the parents, staff and community to vote for them online. Upon returning, she received the news that Internet votes supported the center and assured them a spot as a finalist. The composition and photograph submitted by Dunnan were enough on their own to secure their personal greenhouse. Evidently, a “puhleeese” can go a long way.

The greenhouse was installed in September behind the Red Shield’s Yuma Street headquarters.

The Colorado Springs Red Shield Community Center is part of The Salvation Army’s ministry in El Paso County, led by County Coordinator Major Don Gilger and Associate County Coordinator Major Ronda Gilger.

From an article on by Debbie Kelley.

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