A little more than six weeks after planting, the Viatorian Community Garden, has begun to bear fruit!

The first donation of zucchini, squash and fresh kale went to the Wheeling Township food pantry, which feeds more than 400 families a month in Chicago’s Northwest suburbs.

It was the first of what promises to be a steady stream of donations. Last year alone, gardeners contributed more than 1,000 pounds of vegetables to Wheeling Township’s food pantry. In fact, since the garden began in 2012, its vegetable donations have added up to more than four and a half tons.

Special thanks to young teens who attended Saint Viator High School’s Service & Song Camp last month. As one of their service sites, these young people helped weed, water and spread mulch throughout the 14 raised beds in the garden.

Members of the Children of Abraham Coalition are participating in this garden ministry for the first time this summer. Today, they harvested different types of lettuce, peppers and green beans, which are now finding their way to local food pantries and hungry families.

Working with Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, its members include those from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith traditions, who organize events around which they can learn about one other’s religions while working together toward advancing peace.

In going back to the land, they are joining a faith-based ministry whose mission is to grow fresh vegetables for area food pantries. In March, the garden was named a sacred space by the Saint Kateri Conservation Center.