Sierra House Women and Children’s Shelter United Way Greenhouse Project

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A Greenhouse For Susie

Sierra House United Way Greenhouse Susie Gonzales was playing in the warm earth at her mothers feet. Consuelo wiped the sweat from her brow and smiled at her young daughter-the first smile in a long time.

Ever since she had come to the Sierra House Women and Children’s Shelter, things had started looking up. She was glad to be able to have some shelter; The 1975 Pontiac they had been living in was no place to raise a kid. And the hungry crying that came every evening had finally stopped.

But the best part of her day, was when she was able to spend her allotted time in the new greenhouse. She loved the way the sun warmed her battered and frail body and the way the earth felt between her toes.

She bit into the ripe tomato and as the juice trickled down her chin, she felt a ray of hope. Hope that things would get better. Hope that Susie would have enough to eat this winter. And hope that God had finally heard her prayers.

And now thanks to a grant from the United Way of Southwest New Mexico, Consuelo and Susie now have that ray of hope!

united way

We run a small Women and Children’s shelter next door to the Mission which you can read more about here.

A small greenhouse has been placed on the side of the shelter to provide year-round vegetables for the shelter residents and also to help out in our soup kitchen.

We felt that a greenhouse would be a very worthy project. Greenhouse grown food is healthier, tastes better and reduces transportation costs.

But more importantly, a greenhouse is an excellent therapeutic treatment for the residents of the shelter. It gives them a feeling of self-worth, teach them a valuable skill, bring them peace of mind and get them into a healthy environment.

A small greenhouse provides variety in their day and their diet and show them first-hand what a small amount of work can do (or what neglect may also bring them).

Construction and Operation

The greenhouse was purchased and delivered locally from Ken and Rhonda Griffith of mysolargreenhouse of Arenas Valley (575-313-2246) and after a small foundation was dug, placed in front of the house on the parking lot side.  It is a nice little house and we had the growing racks and trays thrown in for the price of the house itself.

We should have plenty of sun in this spot and it makes for easy access by both Sierra House and Mission personnel.

Initial crops will be lettuce, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, chili, bell peppers, spinach, and other salad vegetables.

The Sierra House Manager is in charge of running the greenhouse with oversight and training coming from the Gospel Mission Manager.  Residents will be required to spend 1/2 hour per day in greenhouse duty as part of their contract to stay in the Sierra House.

Contact us if you are interested in helping out with this or some of our other community gardening projects like our upcoming 3 sisters plot.

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