Emergency foster care home, Heaven’s Nest, has taken another step towards self-sustainability with the help of SPAR Distribution Centre in Philippi, who commissioned a vegetable garden on the property.
“The aim of the project is two-fold,” says Heaven’s Nest co-ordinator Eleanor Bester. “The vegetables can be harvested every six weeks, which allows us to provide fresh organic seasonal vegetables for the children, and what we don’t use can be sold, allowing us to provide other food, clothing and necessities.”
Heaven’s Nest is currently providing care to 12 children between three and seven years old. These numbers change constantly, since they do not institutionalise children, but rather care for them when they are in a state of need, until they can be re-integrated into their families or placed in foster care.
“It was a great feeling to harvest spinach six weeks after planting,” enthuses Bester. “The harvest yielded enough to feed the children, supply our soup kitchen, which we operate from St Francis Church in Strandfontein, and send some home with the Carers. We will initially sell the excess to staff and members of our church.”
“The beans that were planted initially are slow growers, so we are experimenting with beetroot and spring onions,” explains Bester. “When we can harvest different veggies at the same time, we will put up a table and sell to thegeneralpublic. We will continue to experiment to achieve optimal output from this garden.”
“With the cost of providing holistic care to our children, self-sustainability has to be our ultimate goal,” says Bester. “The donations and sponsorships we receive are wonderful and help us to keep doing what we do; but as everyone with children knows the costs are constantly increasing. This garden is an excellent way to allow us to cater to these increasing needs and continue to provide a safe and loving environment to children in need.”
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About Heaven’s Nest
Heaven’s Nest, a children’s centre situated in Ottery, was opened in 2004 and is run by the task team of St Francis of Assisi in Strandfontein. Their mission is to be a safe place of care and nurturing for some of the projected millions of orphans to emerge from the HIV/AIDS pandemic and other “children in need”.