In the midst of the scariest part of the pandemic, when it was hard to get access to food, and there were rumors that it was only going to get worse, Joy Ellsworth and her non-profit Clement Waters redoubled their efforts to plant gardens around Kansas City that would feed those who live here throughout the coming years. They also worked to distribute food and help he it distributed in any way they could.
The truth is though, even before COVID hit, they have been doing the work to help people in the worst food desert I have ever seen. There are virtually no grocery stores on the side of town where Clement Waters focuses their work, and the ones that do exist rarely have produce. When they do have it, Joy told me with sadness in her eyes, that it’s already several days old so it has already lost many important nutrients.
The first time I went to volunteer with Joy, I forgot to pack lunch saying, “oh we will just get food when we get there.” I am on a very strict diet for some medical issues I have been having, but I had never really been somewhere in the city that I wouldn’t be able to go to a healthy restaurant, or at least somewhere that had those options. Here there was virtually nothing, I found some fruit at a quik trip, but I ended up eating foods that cause my symptoms because we had no other choice.
I don’t share that story to make anyone feel sorry for me, that was one day, and I live 5 minutes from a Sprouts, so this is a huge first world problem for me, but I share it because there are people who live there, just like everywhere else, who struggle with depression, and hormone imbalances, and illnesses, that we know are at least mitigated by a healthy diet. Not only that, but many do not have reliable cars, or they are working multiple jobs to stay afloat, or they are diligently caring for sick relatives, or children, so it’s very difficult for them to drive across town to get healthy food, like produce, or gluten free products, or even just the healthier version of a mainstream product. These are not lazy people who do not want healthy food, they are hard workers filled with love for their families, who are fighting every day to take care of each other.
Clement Waters builds gardens in neighborhoods like this that need help, they help build them in schools and teach families how to plant their own, and they teach people about what plants are edible and what are not, so that they can come to the gardens and eat the most beautiful and nourishing fresh fruit and vegetables. One school that was struggling to get healthy food on their budget, ended up having so much extra they were able to share back with Joy, and the area around them. They also have a forest in the middle of Kansas City where it is hard to find time in nature, where people can go to quietly breathe in fresh air and rest.
This Giving Tuesday, if you can spare anything to help Clement Waters, we would all be so grateful. The larger their movement gets, the more people will be able to sustain their own nourishing food needs, and together we will create a better world 🌍 and if you can’t donate, please share. It’s free, and the more people hear about this work, the better. ♥️
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