Teens support the needy and nature

The Island Now
Plant-a-Row for the Hungry and ReWild Long Island volunteers join parents of student volunteers, elected officials and other supporters. Photo captions (Courtesy of Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton’s office)

Plant-a-Row for the Hungry and ReWild Long Island continued their collaboration to both help solve lack of affordable access to fresh vegetables among the needy and provide optimal habitats for butterflies, bees and other beneficial fauna.

Plant-a-Row’s Founder and Chief Vegetable Officer Marvin Makofsky and ReWild Long Island President Raju Rajan led an end-of-season ceremony at the Science Museum of Long Island (SMLI) where much of the organizations’ efforts take place. Makovsky thanked Jean-Marie Posner and the Dejana Foundation, the Scotts Company, Port Washington Community Chest, Long Island Together, Home Depot, Sweet Pea, Hicks, Bayles Nursey, Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society, Helen Keller National Center, Girl Scouts, PW Green, Residents Forward and the Manorhaven Nature Preserve for providing myriad support.

Rajan happily announced that the 50,000-pound mark of vegetables grown and delivered to food banks for distribution to needy families was exceeded this year. He also remarked about the valuable impact that has been made through these programs, both in the lives of the recipients, many of who cannot afford to buy fresh vegetables on a regular basis, along with the young volunteers who have gained an immeasurable appreciation for nature, teamwork and giving of oneself for the less fortunate.

Adult leaders, and teen student mentors and interns spoke about their learning and personal experiences working with nature and their peers. Special thanks were given to Nicholas Center founder Stella Spanakos and manager Brooke Mellett for overseeing the Nicholas Navigators in planting seeds and growing plants for transplanting into the gardens, which saves a great deal of money each year. Marvin Makofsky referred to Spanakos, Mellett and the Navigators who are autistic teens and young adults as “remarkable people who are the fabric of our community.”

Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove) was proud to participate in the ceremony. During her speech where she lauded the student and adult mentor volunteers, she said, “We’re all worried about the future of our planet, but the teenagers here today who have given their time to grow vegetables for the needy, nurture butterfly cocoons, and otherwise help nature flourish give us faith that our planet is in good hands.”

The ceremony ended with SMLI President Hildur Palsdottir, who expressed her appreciated to all of the elected officials for devoting a good portion of their day to attend the ceremony, clearly understanding its importance for our children and our planet. She also aptly remarked about a recent lecture she had attended where E.O. Wilson, the father of the “Half-Earth Project” said, “We don’t need another moonshot. We need an Earth shot.”

Visit plantarowforthehungry.org and rewildlongisland.org to learn more about the great and important programs these organizations support.

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