ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An Albany woman is looking to open a community park with the hope of keeping people out of trouble and help families in need with free food.
Pastor Rebekah Riddle said that with the community’s help, the park could become an important staple for many in the community.
Riddle is seeking help from the community with donations of more vegetables, top and pot soil and raised bed materials to go into the new park.
Over 800 plants are ready to be planted as the local pastor tries to get the garden together as a way to beautify Albany after Hurricane Michael. She also plans for the garden to be a way to give back and provide food and a place for kids to go to stay safe and off the streets.
For years, Riddle’s father, J.B. Whitehead Jr., provided food and clothes to many families in Albany. A tradition and memory Riddle is trying to keep alive.
“He would help make sure they had food, help make sure the kids in the neighborhood had food, clothes and supplies,” said Riddle. “He did that and actually in our backyard, we had a garden.”
Their garden was where many sought refuge. Her desire to still plant seeds in her community is her biggest wish.
“My goal is to try to get a community garden up and running so we can use this as a way to help the community take care of itself,” said Riddle.
Last year, Riddle was gifted land on Olivia Street near Sylvester Road in East Albany. It may be an empty lot now, but it will soon be the future home of the “JB Whitehead Jr. Garden of Visions Park.”
“Producing food and vegetables and it also gives some of the kids, different people in the neighborhood, something to do,” said Riddle.
With the recent crime occurrences in the city, she hopes that by providing free vegetables, fruits and a peaceful setting, the community will harvest more positivity in the city.
“I remember that when my dad had us in a garden, that was the time I used to focus and think about what I wanted to do and what I wanted to be,” said Riddle.
And it all started while planting in her childhood garden, the same place she believes could lead to growth of many others through a simple seed.
“Get some kids to open up to the adults, to talk and start a conversation. Get conversation started so maybe the adults can give them some positive aspect of life,” said Riddle.
Riddle is waiting on the city to remove storm debris. She hopes that all of the plants and the park will be completed with your help by the end of March.