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Matching grant puts Unity Gardens one step closer to building community learning center

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – A matching grant is putting Unity Gardens one step closer to building a community learning center.

The nearly 10-year-old nonprofit strives to provide the community with healthy food and education. It hosts a variety of classes every year on topics ranging from gardening to compost and soil health.

Since 2011, the nonprofit has been planning to build a community learning center on its property. The center would serve many purposes, including a location to host community classes.

“Think about the efficiency if we have our own venue where we can teach and, if the weather allows, people not only are sitting in a classroom, they’re walking out into the garden where they can taste those herbs or they can see how they’re grown and really see the principles in action,” said Sara Stewart, the executive director of Unity Gardens.

Stewart says the community center has had overwhelming community support.

The nonprofit says the building will cost around $350,000. So far, enough money has been raised to cover the cost of the building’s exterior, market area, and commercial kitchen.

Last week Stewart received a call from Dick and Donna Pfeil saying they would match up to $12,500 raised by the community to go towards the classroom at the community learning center. Stewart says the $26,000 is enough to cover all the classroom costs. 

“It really just fueled our energy in terms of wanting to reach out to the community in a more active way,” said Stewart. “It’s the season of giving, so what great timing.”

The fundraiser will be open through the month of December.

“I know by the end of the year we can do this,” said Stewart.

Unity Gardens hopes to have the classroom ready by next year at this time.

Click here for more information on the fundraiser, to learn more on how the classroom will impact the community or to make a donation.

Stewart says you can also donate by calling her at 574-315-4361. She will take credit cards over the phone. Donations can also be mailed to Unity Gardens, P.O. Box at 10022 South Bend, IN 46690.

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