• lschwartz65

This all started with a dream...

Things have been a little crazy around the Papillion Community Foundation so far this year. All because last year there was a major interruption in life. I remember last year just as we started to swing into full on Papillion Days planning for what was going to be one of the biggest years ever - the celebration of the Papillion 150 - I got a phone call. On that phone call I heard the words "I really think you might want to think about cancelling Papillion Days" this was in February. Sadly I just really didn't understand and I chuckled a little bit. I just didn't know how serious this was. Almost overnight our world changed. I had a senior in high school at the time - I had no idea that he would not have his senior prom, his graduation or have a normal Freshman Year in college. I had no idea that we would all be locked down in our homes, wearing masks, and that the world would just stop. But stop it did. So that is when things really started to come into focus. After about two weeks of trying to navigate this new normal, I felt like it was time to shift my focus. So I sat down with my co-worker and we started to brainstorm. We were able to hear about all of the need in the community as many people were struggling with the virus, losing their jobs and not being able to pay the bills or put food on the table. The one thing that I just kept looking at were the three words on the wall of the office Identify, Develop, Support. Those three words just kept going through my head. I just kept thinking what can we do to meet our mission better. Every day those words were there making me and us think about what we could do to survive in this new normal and how can we make a greater impact. We facilitated a food drive for the Tri City Food pantry and had a successful drive - we had a lot of donations. As we loaded everything in my vehicle to take it to the pantry I remember thinking to myself - man this food doesn't seem very healthy. Wouldn't it be so cool if we were able to give everyone who needed to get food from the food pantry a box of fresh food. I just kept thinking about that. Then it hit me - why can't we be a source of healthy food for those in need in the community. I remembered as a kid when I lived in Mississippi with my family that we had a community garden - 6 families leased a few acres outside of town and we all pitched in and planted, harvested and benefitted from a plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables. We worked from April to October and grew almost everything that we ate. The families would get together and "put up" (that is what we called it) everything from tomatoes to making all kinds of jam. Our families enjoyed fresh food year around. I also remember the memories made there. I felt very fortunate. So I started talking to my co-worker about this hairbrained idea of starting a community garden to feed the community and to feed the Foundation. This was a way for us to meet our mission. I have to say that he looked at me like I was crazy at first but then we just both dove in. We started researching every program that we could find out there. We started reaching out and talking to people about this idea and people got excited. We started applying for grant money and we got some! People believe in this idea and this vision and tonight in front of the City Council we hopefully will get started! Stay tuned

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