Genece Fields loves getting her hands dirty. The 54-year-old finds working in the garden at the Senator Philip D. Lewis Center therapeutic as she battles her way back from homelessness.
“It’s my quiet time; it’s like meditation,” said Fields, one of the residents at the homeless resource center.
Fields joined volunteers from the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County and Home Depot to plant a vegetable oasis at the Lewis Center, located at 1000 45th Street in West Palm Beach.
“The residents at the Lewis Center are working hard to improve their lives, and this garden is almost a symbol of that growth and change,” Homeless Coalition Executive Director Marilyn Munoz said.
The Home Depot store at Okeechobee Blvd. and Jog Road in West Palm Beach donated all the plants, and about 15 store employees donated their time to the project.
“These are people who are not getting paid. They are here donating their time and energy,” Store Manager Doug Duggan said. “At Home Depot, we believe in helping the community, and we live it.”
Residents at the Lewis Center can now enjoy corn, zucchini and tomatoes, along with fresh herbs. The Home Depot staff also planted flowers in the serenity garden and fixed a long-dormant fountain.
For Fields, seeing the gardens blooming and the fountain flowing again reinforces the hope she has found at the Lewis Center.
“This place builds you up. Being here has really made me feel better about myself,” she said.
For more than 25 years, the Homeless Coalition’s purpose has been to generate awareness through advocacy, education and community outreach with the goal of ending homelessness in Palm Beach County.
For more information, visit www.homelesscoalitionpbc.org.
ABOVE: Home Depot employees lend a hand in the garden project.