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      Community garden project helps fight hunger

      A community garden is underway to help provide fresh produce to the hungry.

      Volunteers got to work right away Sunday morning weed-whacking and raking an unmaintained garden bed the Ottumwa Industrial Park. Once the area is cleaned up planting can begin. Several organizations including United Way, John Deere and U.S. Bank are contributing their time.

      According to a project coordinator, nearly 5,300 people are food insecure in Wapello County. Volunteers want to change that by planting a variety of healthy foods like potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and cabbage. The produce will then be donated to local food pantries and food service providers.

      â??We've already made a huge difference,â?? United Way Community Impact Coordinator Marie Zoromski said. â??What was completely brush and turned over, now you see where the beds were and what was here prior to that.â??

      Theyâ??ve also launched a project called â??Plant a Square for Hungerâ??, so if you have a garden at home, consider donating one square foot of produce grown to local pantry or food bank. If youâ??d like to get involved in the Community Garden Project, you are asked to call United Way at 641-682-1264.