Pay It Forward: Sacred Heart
A fresh tomato still warm from the sun or an ear of corn ready to eat -- in a couple of months, gardens will be overflowing.

Students at Sacred Heart Elementary School hope for the same. The school is one of the grant winners from our Pay it Forward contest.

The six groups chosen each received $1,000 to grow for a good cause. For students at Sacred Heart, it's seed money for a community garden.

The students know all about acts of kindness, whether it's artists at the Bemis volunteering with a project, or donors stepping forward to provide scholarship money.

In the past, students paid it forward by cleaning yards in North Omaha neighborhoods and by planting flowers and trees. This time, they're tackling a bigger job.

Student Justin Johnson says, "Some people don't have anything of their own. If we get the garden then everyone can have a little something of their own."

Father Tom Fangman believes the lesson is just as important as what's taught in the classroom: those who have been given much are called to give back.

He says the goal is, "to be able to continue to teach our kids and to help them realize what they can do by making use of being a community together, of seeing good things happen, of how it grows, and how it can be given to others."

Within a couple of months a vacant lot will be completely transformed. That transformation will include a butterfly garden as well as herbs and vegetables.

Sacred Heart also runs Heart Ministries. With a food pantry so in demand, they're adding hours.

Sara Hohnstein, with Heart Ministries, says, "It's nearly impossible to get fruits and vegetables that are fresh so this garden project, it's going to be amazing for our clients."

It will also serve as a source of pride for students like Ashlei Jordan, "to see how our hard work that we put into the garden just blossoms."

Sacred Heart School is already at work trying to grow the money. They're lining up a volunteer group to help plant in April and have applied for grants and gardening equipment.

Sacred Heart School Contact
John Arndorfer

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