Seton Senior Living in Washington Court House was gifted two standing vegetable planters on Tuesday to grow food and bring a bit of happiness to Seton’s residents.
The Miami Trace FFA, led by advisor Bruce Bennett, was approached last year by Melinda Blaney, who is contracted by Seton and works for Lutheran Social Services, to serve as the head of social services. She had come with an idea from the residents at Seton to bring standing vegetable planters to the green-thumbed community at the assisted living center. It was a little late to get help from MT FFA last year, but Bennett and Blaney re-connected again this year.
“Evan Schaefer, an FFA alumni and local farmer, donated some materials that make up the planters,” Bennett said. “Melinda came up with the idea and the kids took it from there. I have a shop class and they are in charge of building things. And they were more than excited to do this. I was just thinking, this is something that these kids need to do, spend more time with the elderly. Sometimes we don’t always appreciate them. Khenadi (one of the students helping on Tuesday) could even grow up to do this, so its important that we take time to do this kind of stuff.”
Several residents began to drift outside as the FFA students set up the planters. Many residents commented on the design of them, such as how they were not too short or tall and built well. Blaney reminisced with the residents, asking them about their own gardens from when they were children. The residents enjoyed conversations with the students and talked about eating dirt-covered tomatoes straight from the garden and gave suggestions for other vegetables they could plant.
“This spring, Bruce and I talked and he asked if I still wanted the vegetable boxes, and of course the residents have been wanting them for awhile,” Blaney said. “The kids actually came up with a design. All of these residents though, and their green thumbs, if nothing starts to grow, they will manage to make them grow. Several of these people standing here had a garden when they were kids and had to pick them so their families could cook it. This is something that honestly won’t just feed them, but will feed their mind.”
Blaney said that residents suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s can use these planters as a way of focusing their mind on something familiar. This can often lead to prolonged independence and other great benefits.
“This makes me cry and so happy,” Blaney said. “The benefits of this aren’t just nutrition and vitamins, it’s mind, it’s soul, its sunshine and vitamin D.”
One of the residents commented that they thought the work was great and all of the residents in attendance agreed that it is nice to see young people take time to do something nice. In a world where all they hear about is how terrible young people can be, they said it is refreshing and wonderful to see these students do something kind for them.