This year (2021) started in the worst possible way for Hope House & Garden.
A flood caused so much damage to the learning center building that it had to come down.
Then, the usual volunteer groups that get a lot of work done at Hope House & Garden each summer canceled their plans because of COVID.
"The first half of this year was a real downer," said VEJ executive director BT Irwin. "That extended into the summer, when we could not find enough volunteers to do all of the projects that we needed to get done."
But that is changing with the arrival of new grant funding that is helping VEJ hire local people to complete several improvement projects this fall.
Thanks to grants from Co.Act Detroit and the United Way of Southeast Michigan, VEJ will complete projects that will enhance the value of Hope House & Garden to the local community.
Those projects include:
Even the removal of the learning center will turn out for the better.
"We knew that the learning center was in such bad shape that we were probably going to have to replace it anyway," said Irwin. "Taking it down this year allowed us to clear the site and get it ready for whatever will go there next."
What goes there next will be part of the design and plans that come from the Hope Park Project now under way.
"The residents of the Hope Park community will decide what function Hope House & Garden should have in their neighborhood," said Irwin. "We now have a 'blank canvas' available for whatever they plan."
Meanwhile, the neighborhood garden continues to grow.
"The most important thing is for us to grow and harvest as much food as we can between now and the end of the growing season," said Irwin. "That food is for local families that need it."
To that end, Irwin said that VEJ still needs volunteers to come work at Hope House & Garden through the end of the growing season (usually late October).
To find a time to come volunteer, click here.