Angels Among Us Grow an Idea in Watseka

Angels Among Us

WATSEKA, Ill. (WCIA) — Not everyone is excited to get extra duties added to the job. But not everyone is Scott Yates.

“I thought it was going to be fun,” said Yates.

He’s the groundskeeper at Iroquois Memorial Hospital. The raised gardens are in his hands.

“Kind of weed it, make it look pretty, water it, and keep it growing.”

But this isn’t just any garden. It’s an example of not giving up on your goals.

“We started the committee to help the underserved population about a year ago,” remembered IMH Human Resources Officer Tera Bivins. “We had so many plans and then COVID came along and canceled most of our plans.”

A community garden somewhere in town instead became these three boxes in the hospital courtyard. Yates’ family member built them, Iroquois Paving Company donated the dirt and the high school FFA gave them some of the plants.

“Makes me feel proud to be a part of it,” Yates said.

But the committee needed a way to get the produce to the people who needed it and the community share table was born. Sally Mabbitt is a master gardner on the committee.

“Let’s get a table and let’s get this produce. Because of the pandemic and everybody losing their jobs, that the amount of fresh food and produce, if you don’t have a garden or know how to garden, then you don’t have it.”

Bivins’ office is right next to the table. She loves getting to watch their work come together.

“It’s been an amazing experience to talk to people and see the generosity and then to also see people so thankful.”

People like Vickie Bauman. She says the project really says a lot about the kind of town she lives in.

“When I seen this I was amazed. This was such a nice thing to have.”

The pandemic may have put a pause on a community garden, but it couldn’t stop the caring for the community.

“It’s really good that everybody has stepped up,” Mabbitt said. “Everybody has donated. And then we have so many people who are appreciative of the efforts.”

The hospital wants to expand the raised gardens to its other locations across Central Illinois.

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