Special from the Adams Rescue Mission

By Lex McMillan

On May 5, the Adams Rescue Mission on York Road opened a greenhouse and garden shop in a plastic-covered “high tunnel” that has been years in planning.  According to Jim Staub, Director of Men’s Ministries, the timing could not have been better.  “With the quarantine under COVID-19, there has been a boom in gardening,” he said.  Folks who never had time before are planting flowers and vegetable gardens in their yards.  Despite little advertising other than the ARM Facebook page and signage along Route 30, business has been brisk.

The tunnel-shaped greenhouse measures 20 x 48 feet and is fabricated on steel tubing.  Its double layer of plastic cover keeps the interior warm enough to cultivate seedlings when it’s cold outside. Friends of ARM, including the Adams County Historical Society, TNT Storage, and Nolt’s Mulch, have contributed materials to help get the project off to a promising start.

There is still a wide variety of flowers, plants, and vegetables available for those who have gotten a late start on spring planting, and plans are under way for the fall season. The current variety includes herbs such as parsley, rosemary, chives, basil, and oregano; flowers such as zinnia, petunia, impatiens, snapdragon, lavender, tiger lily, black-eyed Susan, and day lilies; the popular flowering ground covers Hosta, lamium, and cosma; and vegetables including tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupe, nine types of peppers, and Grand Rapids lettuce. In the field next to the greenhouse is a small orchard thanks to a gift from Adams County Nursery.  It’s a cornucopia of grace.

Last winter, Jim took a six-month course to become a Master Gardener and with help from his wife, already an avid gardener, has led the project from its inception.  The idea grew out of a brainstorming session as the recycling business that had for years been a mainstay for ARM began to collapse.  Although a continued vital service to the community and an important source of vocational training for the residents, the revenue from recycling has declined from about 60% of ARM income to only 15%.

Bruce Dietrick, ARM’s Executive Director, says the greenhouse has extended ARM’s ministry to a new segment of the community, provides vocational rehabilitation for the residents, and is a growing source of revenue for the Mission.

Current ARM residents built the greenhouse, landscaped the surrounding area, built an entrance arbor and a bridge over the retention pond, and cleared a walking path around the perimeter. For one man in particular, however, the greenhouse has been a new passion.  He now spends most of his days tending the garden and overseeing the operation with pride.  When asked what he liked best about the greenhouse, he replied simply, “that it’s here.”

The Adams Rescue Mission exists to proclaim the passion of Jesus toward the hungry, homeless, abused, and addicted; to accelerate recovery and restoration to the least, last, lonely, and lost.  Lex McMillan is an ARM board member.

To support the Mission: http://www.adamsrescuemission.org/donate-now.