Written by Juanita Fox
The people who live and work at Garden Spot Village continuously explore the abundant opportunities they have to live with purpose in community. At times, community centers around 433 S Kinzer Avenue. At other times, community extends to New Holland, Lancaster County and the world.
Garden Spot Village partners with like-minded organizations to make some of the connections that extend beyond our campus. One of Garden Spot Village’s closest partners is CrossNet Ministries, located on Franklin Street in New Holland, just over a mile from the community.
CrossNet Ministries offers help and hope in the name of Jesus Christ by empowering people in the ELANCO community. The organization provides programs in the area of Youth, Food & Nutrition, Social Services and Community.
Executive Director Meredith Dahl says, “CrossNet and Garden Spot Village are unique partners. We collaborate together to make an impact in the community and we support one another in initiatives.”
In March 2017 Garden Spot Village residents began to serve a monthly community meal at the CrossNet Youth Center building. The monthly event is funded by donations from staff and residents through the Garden Spot Village Swipe Out Hunger initiative.
Carl Edwards, CrossNet Youth Center director says, “The couples who lead the community meal, Fred and Eileen Eck and Don and Lois Aldrich, have been a tremendous blessing. At CrossNet we focus on relationships and the community meal facilitates a multigenerational relationship we haven’t been able to manage before.
“Through the past year,” Carl continues, “we have seen tremendous growth in relationships. We find that people come for the relationship aspect—parents and children come together. Plus, the food is amazing. People want to be engaged and known. They want to be connected to the community. The community meal creates a space where people can be known and we can build community.”
For many years Garden Spot Village residents and staff donated material goods to CrossNet. Through the Garden Spot Village Make a Difference program residents and staff donated nonperishable food to the CrossNet Food Pantry and school supplies and backpacks for CrossNet’s annual backpack giveaway.
This winter Garden Spot Village residents and staff will donate hats, scarves and mittens which CrossNet will pass along to children in the ELANCO school district. During the October 2018 New Holland Farmers Fair Parade, Garden Spot Village residents and staff collected several crates of nonperishable food for the CrossNet Food Pantry. Garden Spot Village hopes to increase this collaboration in 2019.
Garden Spot Village also hosts and serves as a sponsor for CrossNet’s annual Garden Gala in the Legacy Garden. The upscale, donor-focused event features the incredible creations of the Garden Spot Village culinary team. Approximately 250 people attend the annual fundraising event.
Meredith says, “It is a huge gift to be able to partner with Garden Spot Village for the Garden Gala. The grounds and space are beautiful and Garden Spot Village is a wonderful host. The event provides a nice evening out for supporters and a chance to enjoy great food and a beautiful location right here in the community!”
Garden Spot Village staff and residents also serve as volunteers in various capacities at CrossNet including as mentors and tutors as well as in the food pantry. The Community Church at Garden Spot Village is also a significant financial and prayer support to CrossNet. CrossNet also provided support to Garden Spot Village as the community built the Cooperative Living House.
“Garden Spot Village residents and staff are a key partner as we reach into the community to offer help and hope,” says Meredith. “We would not be able to do a lot of our programs without the volunteers from GSV. We are also blessed by the wisdom that our team receives from Garden Spot residents and staff. We have been encouraged, prayed for and cared for by the team at Garden Spot. They are a unique and special partner.”
To learn about the other ways Garden Spot Village impacts the greater New Holland community, download our community impact document.