Tonawanda News — Rolando has pages of drawings and notes for the garden. After Goetz’s response, she sent information to 10 churches in the city, offering use of 4-foot-by-8-foot plots of land.
Eight of the 10 churches, including First Presbyterian Church, St. Francis Church, Salem United Church of Christ, Bethesda Full Gospel Tabernacle, Salvation Army, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Grove Street Christian Church and United Methodist, responded in the affirmative.
At First Presbyterian Church, Rolando’s home church, Pastor Ed Hoener — whom she cited as one of her inspirations — said he feels very positive about the plans.
“Our conviction here is that being a community means being out there among people, not hiding behind the walls of the church,” he said. “When we consider that, we think we have to do something concrete to make a difference. That’s really the bottom line. We’re trying to be part of the community around us in a way that makes some sense.”
As part of the project, Rolando visited Salem Preschool and read the book, “The Little Seeds That Grew,” then helped the children plant sunflower seeds in cups. The seedlings are to be planted with tiger lilies at the side of the lot, she said.
Rosanne Will, lead teacher at the preschool, said the students have been caring for the plants and enjoying watching them grow.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Will said. “I hope it works out for her. It’s a big undertaking, but it’s so great for the community.”
Slowly but surely, Rolando has been gathering donations for her project, from companies including Walgreens, Imperial Fence, Morningstar Concrete and Bush Topsoil. While it might take years for all her garden dreams to see fruition, she has big plans, including a harvest potluck in Clinton Park for the community as a whole.