Today is Saturday, August 19, 2017

Little hands help local seniors

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Area third-graders will converge at a rather large garden tucked in an unusual place Monday.

Elzie Patton Elementary students will trek to the garden hidden in the back of Charlie Daniels Park early Monday morning to dig in the dirt and plant all sorts of vegetables like peppers, squash, and tomatoes.

City parks employee Jan Littrell will supervise the planting. She's hovered over the raised beds of the garden she dubbed "Labor of Love" garden for several years. It's somewhat of a complete circle; our community's youngest community partners plant luscious vegetables, and when they turn ripe, they go directly into the hands of Mt. Juliet's elderly.

Pounds of vegetables will make their way to Debbie Pare, who is in charge of Wilson County's SCAN (Senior Citizen's Awareness Network).

A former nurse, she's spent the last several years in charge of this program developed by the Wilson County Sheriff's Office to address the needs of seniors in Wilson County. She and other volunteers have routine visits to approximately 170 local seniors who are isolated, lonely, perhaps sick, and financially challenged.

Littrell helps grow the city garden in order to supply these seniors with fresh vegetables during the summer months. She said it's in her heart to do what she can for "these precious little people" who might not otherwise get fresh produce.

She and the Master Gardener group partnered with Debbie (whom she called an "angel on earth") and SCAN to work together for the effort providing vegetables.

"Debbie and Sgt. Don Witherspoon came to one of our Master Gardener meetings and gave a presentation on what SCAN does," she said. "I knew then where our vegetables would go."

When EP school officials heard of the program, they knew they wanted to be involved.

"Monday will be a wonderful day for the students, parents, teachers and the community," Littrell said. "On this day the sweet students will learn exactly where the fruits from their plants will go after they are grown."

Writer Laurie Everett can be reached at laurieeverett1@gmail.com

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