Rutgers Cooperative Extension Collaborates with HomeFront on their Family Campus Garden for Shelter Residents
HomeFront celebrated the opening of its Healing & Memorial Garden at their Family Campus in Mercer County on July 1. The Campus is their dignified shelter for 38 local families at a time who are homeless. This lovely garden will provide a place for meditative thought, moments of beauty, and gardening projects, while also commemorating the passing of HomeFront Family members.
Meredith Melendez, Rutgers Cooperative Extension agriculture agent and associate professor in Mercer County, designed the garden in collaboration with HomeFront , and did the initial installation of the plants. “My work on this project introduced me the HomeFront organization and the dignity it provides residents in need. The staff was extremely helpful in educating me about the purpose of the garden and assisting me during the planning and installation process,” said Melendez.
Sheila Addison, director of HomeFront’s Family Campus explains the importance of this new space: “The garden is a natural extension of our Family Campus. Both are places to help families rebuild their spirits after dealing with the pain and trauma of homelessness.”
“My hope is that this will become a place where our parents can come to reflect and renew, our children can laugh and sing and witness the joy of nature and those who we miss can always be remembered,” said Connie Mercer, HomeFront CEO.
The garden is also a special memorial for members of the HomeFront family, whether they are clients, volunteers, staff, or supporters who have made HomeFront who it is today.
Special thanks were extended to those who made this healing and memorial garden possible. In addition to Meredith Melendez, this included the Mercer County Board of Agriculture, All Saints Church of Princeton and its congregants, landscape architect Bay Weber, and the Wasch Family Foundation.
Those interested in seeing the healing garden or touring HomeFront’s Family Campus can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s Note: portions of this article were reprinted with the permission of HomeFront.