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A Midstate community garden will be able to provide fresh produce to more people in need thanks to the help of several dozen local volunteers.

On Saturday, more than 60 volunteers helped expand the community garden at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ on Williams Grove Road in Upper Allen Township.

Volunteers helped dig the gardens, plant vegetables and put up fencing, making the garden more than 30 percent larger than it was prior to the weekend.

The project was coordinated by the United Way of the Capital Region as part of the Kellogg Co.’s United Against Food Deserts initiative.

“Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes approached us and wanted to do something about the issue of food insecurity,” said Heidi Neuhaus, director of the United Way of the Capital Region’s volunteer center. “We naturally went to St. Paul’s United Church of Christ. They have a community garden that they’ve been looking to expand for years. We were absolutely thrilled.”

Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes provided a $3,000 grant to help fund the project, which along with expanding the garden includes the installation of an irrigation system, Neuhaus said.

Prior to the expansion, the garden produced about 1,000 pounds of fresh vegetables including lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers a year, she said.

The expansion will allow the church to add things like pumpkins and eggplants to the garden now, bringing the expected harvest up to 1,300 to 1,500 pounds, Neuhaus said.

At the end of the summer the produce will be delivered to New Hope Ministries to be distributed to families in need.

“Basic needs is a really core, fundamental value for our United Way,” said Rae Lynn Cox, vice president of communications and marketing for the United Way of the Capital Region. “We believe everyone should have those needs met. Food is at the top of the list. Knowing that we can help our community have access to those fresh fruits and vegetables they need for healthy living really aligns with our mission.”

The community garden at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ is operated by volunteers. Anyone interested in volunteering with the garden should contact church officials at 717-766-7931.

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Email Joshua Vaughn at jvaughn@cumberlink.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Sentinel_Vaughn.

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