ANDERSON — Janet Lawson wore a pair of bright pink garden gloves. Her husband, Mickey, sported a fishing hat whimsically festooned with lost bits of old jewelry that’s he’s found here and there. One of the rhinestone-covered earrings glinted in the sunlight as Mickey poured gas into a rototiller.
It was planting time out in the garden at New Horizons United Methodist Church in Anderson.
For the Lawsons and other volunteers at the church, gardening is a joyful ministry. Members of the congregation lovingly tend a plot of about 60 by 40 feet located behind the church on its 12-acre grounds at 611 E. 53rd St.
They work almost year round to start seeds, turn soil, plant, hoe, weed, and reap. In the end, everything they grow is given away to help others in need.
“The food that’s been raised there doesn’t go to us,” said Pastor John Hackney. “It’s totally for outreach.”
Once the produce is ready for harvest, it is picked and promptly delivered wherever it can be used. Often that’s across the street to the food pantry at East Lynn Christian Church. It might be to Stepping Stones, The Christian Center, Operation Love, or the Harter House.
“I just walk up to the door and say, ‘Here,’” said Janet’s husband, Mickey. Janet and Mickey head up the garden operation, a project to which they’re deeply committed.
“I have a passion to help feed people,” said Janet simply. She said that food pantries used to supply a lot of canned food, and have shifted to supply more fresh. “We want to make it more frequent, make it more abundant.” She puts her talents to work accomplishing that. It’s a talent that has grown over time.
“When Janet and I first got married she could kill a plastic plant,” said Mickey. Now, he said, she has a green thumb, and can make anything grow. He points to the two-wheeled seeder. “That’s her favorite toy.”