Fruits and vegetables of the Earth - YMCA DownsLink Group

Fruits and vegetables of the Earth

Fruits and vegetables of the Earth

Samantha Burton, our West Sussex Chaplain, shares a story about our amazing volunteer chaplains, YMCA Crawley staff and residents and the journey from field (ok veg patch) to fork.

Samantha writes:

Last week, our Chaplaincy team at Crawley Foyer were able to bring truer meaning to the term ‘homemade meal’ for the residents, as they harvested the fruits and vegetables of the Earth in the Crawley Foyer Garden for their regular Chaplaincy meal. Carrots, celery, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber and basil all home grown by project manager, Sharon Rawcliffe, Al, and the residents of the Foyer over the past year in a labour of love, and all adding delicious, fresh flavour to the Pasta Bolognese with side salad that the residents and chaplains then enjoyed that evening. Yes, some of our residents do even enjoy salad!

Our volunteer chaplains are back doing what they do best – cooking wonderful meals, bringing young people in our housing projects together (though in small numbers for now), and being a listening presence. Helen (pictured below) is just one who has come back for the first time since March 2020 – waiting patiently all this time, and cooking meals (and puddings) to drop off for the residents every other Tuesday – was delighted to be back, and even more delighted with the home-grown fruits, vegetables, and salad that was available, and will be available in the coming weeks, eyeing up the rhubarb in particular for a crumble on her next visit.

Helen says:

“It was wonderful to return to chaplaincy in person after so long. I’m looking forward to it becoming a regular opportunity for socialising around a shared meal. Something I’m sure the young people must have missed as much as we have.”

This past year, residents, staff and volunteers alike have experienced so much isolation and disconnection, that it is so good to be able to start bringing that back, from connection to each other round a table, to our connection with the Earth. Pulling the very things we eat out from the ground to prepare and eat on our plates is a delight, and a real reminder of our connection to this world, the need for unpolluted soil, regular rain, and green space, as well as reminding us to be so incredibly grateful to those who work hard all year round to put food onto our supermarket shelves – or in this case, into our projects’ gardens! Huge thanks to Sharon and her team, Al, and the residents for making the effort to put this beautiful, productive garden in place, and for being so welcoming – and safe – for our returning volunteers. We look forward to bringing more fresh produce onto the resident’s meal plates in the weeks to come!

Fruit and vegetables grown by staff, residents and Chaplains

Would you like to volunteer for us?

Click HERE to find out more about becoming a volunteer Chaplain with us. Our supported accommodation for homeless young people can be found in towns across Sussex, including: Brighton & Hove, Worthing, Hastings, Eastbourne, Crawley, Horsham, Mid-Sussex and Guildford in Surrey, so volunteering opportunities can be found in each of these locations.
There are also opportunities to become mentors to our young people who are developing the life skills to ‘move on’ to independent living. The relationship between mentor and mentee can be a powerful one which has lasting benefits for both. Read Gary’s story to find out more.

Supporting our work to transform the lives of vulnerable young people

We rely on the generosity of our communities to help us transform the lives of the vulnerable young people we work with. You can help by becoming a monthly Room Sponsor or give a one-off donation which will be used on projects like this.

YMCA enables people to develop their full potential in mind, body and spirit. Inspired by and faithful to our Christian values, we create supportive, inclusive and energising communities, where young people can truly belong, contribute and thrive.

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