LAKEWOOD, COLORADO: The Methodists Helping Methodists Foundation had the pleasure of partnering with Lakewood United Methodist Church by providing a grant to help build a community garden. What seemed like an ordinary garden project on unused land has amounted to something much greater. This garden has created a community, rescued the homeless, fed the hungry, saved neighbors’ money and stopped crime.

The leaders of Lakewood United Methodist Church previously created a parking lot ministry which provided unhoused people a safe place to park and sleep. While this was a saving grace for many, they realized they could take their property one step further. They had empty space that would make a perfect community garden. And so, unhoused community members and church leaders got together to bring a community garden on the back part of their property to life. What was once an unused space ridden with weeds, now brings joy and purpose to many lives.  

Today, the garden is a vital part of the community and church. New housed and unhoused gardeners have begun attending church. They have the opportunity to interact and learn from each other while also strengthening their relationship with God. Sophia, an unhoused gardener, spoke about what the garden means to her, “You have no idea how much I needed something positive like this garden in my life.”

The garden backs up to a bike path which has not only brought in passersby to become gardeners, but has provided the opportunity for gardeners to give people food. Marilyn, an unhoused gardener, reflected on what she loves most about the garden, “People in the neighborhood are actually stopping by and asking about the garden. I like to help them find food they can take home.” Neighbors, gardeners, and nonprofits are also able to compost without paying a fee, and gardeners who cannot afford to purchase seeds have access to any seeds they may need.

Lakewood United Methodist Church has since formed partnerships with other nonprofits and churches to continue making the neighborhood a better place and serve those in need. We look forward to seeing the garden grow, as will the love of God in the hearts of those serving and sharing together.