For the fourth straight summer, members of the Viatorian Community have tended a garden on the Province Center grounds — with the sole intent of donating its produce to the local food pantry for hungry tomatoes And the garden is producing!

Already this summer, more than 950 pounds of fresh vegetables have been donated to nearby Wheeling Township Food Pantry, which feeds more than 400 families per month who are coming from throughout Chicago’s Northwest suburbs. Food pantry officials eagerly accept the donations — which include tomatoes, squash, zucchini, peppers and eggplant — and bring them immediately to the food pantry, for clients to choose from during their visits.

Viatorian Archivist Joan Sweeney also has continued with her tradition of donating

Pre-Associate John Dussman weighs some of his harvest

Pre-Associate John Dussman weighs some of his harvest

hand-tied, cut flowers, arranged in mason jars.

The garden ministry was started in 2012 by Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV, but this year Viatorian Pre-Associate John Dussman has taken it over. In all, more than a dozen gardeners tend the 14 raised plots in the garden.IMG_2919 They include Viatorian associates as well as Province Center  staff members and Saint Viator High School families.

“August was a busy month,” John says, “with 500 pounds of produce harvested this month alone.” That brings to nearly 1,000 pounds donated so far this summer, and he expects vegetables to be harvested through the month of September.