In alignment with Southwire’s sustainability commitment, specifically in the realm of Growing Green and Giving Back, Project GIFT volunteers received the 4th District and state level Outstanding Volunteer Award from the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association (GRPA), a private, non-profit institution that was created to support and promote the recreation and park industries within the state of Georgia, for their assistance in the restoration of Carrollton, Ga.’s Knox Park Community Garden. The park itself was also awarded the Outstanding Project by the GRPA.
Knox Park Community Garden was created as a way to provide families in nearby neighborhoods with free, fresh produce. The GRPA Carrollton Parks and Facilities team were looking for a way to revamp the project, so they connected with Kristian Whittington, Southwire’s manager of employee communication and engagement and Project GIFT coordinator.
“As our department was trying to determine how to make this project work, Keep Carroll Beautiful connected us with Kristian Whittington,” said Kent Johnston, Parks and Facilities superintendent. “Project GIFT committed to making this garden a success by providing significant funding to purchase raised beds, soil and fencing to make this garden come alive. Without the dedication and input of the Project GIFT volunteers, there would not be a Knox Park Community Garden.”
Only a few weeks after their connection, Johnston and Whittington developed a plan with the help of Keep Carroll Beautiful, Carroll County’s Keep America Beautiful affiliate dedicated to making the county a better place to live, work and play for future generations, as well as Alpha Phi Omega, a national co-ed service fraternity organized to provide community service, leadership development and social opportunities for college students. Prior to the build day, the teams spent countless hours organizing the project, designing and creating conceptual drawings and researching and purchasing materials for the garden.
During the build day, more than 50 Project GIFT volunteers worked to level the ground, remove weeds, build 10 raised beds and fill those beds with more than 250 bags of soil. After only two hours, Knox Park’s Community Garden was complete.
“This project was an opportunity to continue investing in the message we share about sustainability and sustaining our community,” said Whittington. “To be able to partner with other non-profits that have the same passion that we have about our environment and about helping our communities thrive was an awesome way to give back.”
The awards were presented at the GRPA’s 4th District Banquet on October 17 in Carrollton, Ga. Representatives from the 4th District, which includes parks and recreation agencies throughout the west Georgia area, were also recognized for their contributions.
For more information about the GRPA, their mission and ways to get involved, visit grpa.org.
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