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St. John School has initiated a new outreach program with St. Anthony Shrine Franciscan Food Center, led by Karen Shea, who has been teaching Vertical Farming to our K3 and 1st Grade students this year.

St. John School wanted to give back to the community by expanding the vertical gardening program outside of our school, which led to our partnership with St. Anthony Shrine.

Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten Season, kicked-off our collaboration with our younger students and 6th grade students harvesting and bagging produce from the school’s four tower gardens.

Our K3 and 1st Grade students designed creative/inspirational cards that were attached to each package of produce harvested with red heart ribbon that had such sayings as “remember we love you” and “we will pray for you”.

Our 6th grade students delivered the first packaged produce to St. Anthony Shrine Franciscan Food Center on Wednesday. While at the Shrine they had the opportunity to learn about the many programs the Shrine offers from the Director of Outreach Programs, Mary Ann Ponti, well as receiving their ashes. St. John School was featured on WCVB Channel 5 as they delivered the produce.

Going forward, all of our grades will be involved in one capacity or another with the program including planting, maintenance, harvesting, packaging and delivering the produce. Our 8th graders will also visit the Franciscan Food Center on distribution days to experience the full extent of our partnership and the value of sharing for the good of all.

The produce will be harvested every two weeks and delivered to the St. Anthony Shrine every other Wednesday. The Shrine is thrilled for the donations as The Franciscan Food Center helps over 400 families a week!

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