, Salem, MA

Local News

March 29, 2013

From grotto to garden

Salem shelter announces plans to plant vegetables, flowers

Salem’s homeless shelter owns a complex of buildings at the former St. Mary’s Italian Church property on Margin Street that it calls the “Seeds of Hope” campus.

The name never seemed as appropriate as it did yesterday when Lifebridge, the shelter operators, announced plans to build the “Seeds of Hope Garden,” a large vegetable and flower plot.

The garden will be located on a sunny patch of land where, in 1945, Italian immigrants dedicated a religious stone grotto, a copy of the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France.

Shelter staff and clients intend to plant seeds in this once-sacred soil that, it is hoped, will produce more than just food for the dinner table and flowers for vases.

The garden will be tended by men and women staying at the shelter, as well as former shelter clients who live in apartment buildings on the site.

“It will give our folks an opportunity to get out there and engage in a project they can be fulfilled by,” said Mark Cote, executive director of Lifebridge.

Cote said he is confident that current and former shelter clients will “take ownership” of the garden.

One already has.

Paul Sumares, who lives in Lifebridge housing, tended to the grotto for years with a friend, takes care of a traffic island sponsored by the shelter and now is busy making plans for the new garden.

“Now that (the grotto) is gone, let’s do something with it,” Sumares said. “What better thing can you do than grow some food and take it over to Lifebridge?

“I also think the people may feel a sense of pride — ‘Hey, this is mine.’”

Plans for the garden are not yet final.

Karen Andrew, the kitchen manager, said she wants to grow herbs, tomatoes, lettuce and other vegetables she can use at meals, along with flowers.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament
Comments Tracker