Sister KC here to share a recent volunteer experience we had at St. Vincent Mission. There is a lot of back story on this one starting with Appalachian Roots, a new not for profit organization which was started as an offshoot of our successful Grow Appalachia program at the Mission. One of Appalachian Roots focuses is Friends of the Floyd County Farmers’ Market and two of our most energetic volunteers are Kira and Jacob, Teach For America (TFA) corps members who work in the Floyd County school system.

One day I got an email from Kira wondering if I could use some volunteer help. She explained that TFA corps members would be doing some training in Hindman and they were looking for a service project. Never one to say no to help, I agreed and a couple days later heard from Josh Sparks, the local coordinator for TFA. He was excited to work with us since he was a new participant this year with Wayne Riley and the LCAAHC community garden. When I asked him for some specifics I was told I would have 24 volunteers…for about 90 minutes! Never one to avoid a challenge, I said, “let’s do it”.

When the team arrived at the Mission, right on time, I was ready for them. I had contacted Todd Howard who was taking six volunteers to put up a hog lot for his young pigs at the Pitts Fork farm and Diantha Daniels at The David School where four volunteers would be double-digging and adding organic material to two raised bed which would be used for fall planting at the school. That left me fourteen people to put to work at the Mission.

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The David School kitchen garden-summer mode

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double dug beds waiting for lettuce seed

The work that was accomplished in those 90 minutes was amazing. Compost turned, sifted and applied to beds; sweet potato bed hilled and planted; strawberry bed weeded and harvested; tomato/cucumber bed weeded; storage shed cleaned out, items sorted and shelved according to need; marketing plan for Grow Appalachia and Appalachian Roots; area around raised beds cleaned, plastiked and mulched. I think I might have missed some stuff but as you can see it was a blitz.

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manicured raised beds

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cleaned out compost bin

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happy strawberry bed

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Order from chaos-my most favorite job done.

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and my hero and his clean up squad who made it happen.

I didn’t get pictures of the hog pen or of the marketing team but here is the whole team again. Setting them as featured picture didn’t show the caption.

The Teach For America KY team. Kira and Jacob are at each end.

The Teach For America KY team. Kira and Jacob are at each end.

Prior to the blitz, I was given the opportunity to share a meal with the TFA corps members at The Hindman Settlement School. I gave them an overview of all that the many Grow Appalachia sites in eastern KY were accomplishing since many would be finding employment in counties all around the region. We are blessed to have Kira and Jacob in Floyd County and I wanted to share the wealth with other sites.

To learn more about Teach For America, go to their website at