Isett volunteers returned for the 2023 Volunteer Challenge to help lend their time and talents to refresh Matthew’s Garden at Salvation Army’s Hospitality House, an emergency shelter for women and children.
Nearly a decade ago, another team of volunteers built the garden for the Hospitality House, returning with a new team each year to make functional updates in order to make the space more usable for the residents. Matthew’s Garden was named after the son of a former director of the shelter who passed early and unexpectedly, and the project has a soft spot in Isett’s hearts. The annual Volunteer Challenge is organized by the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley, serving as the largest mobilization of corporate teams aligned with local nonprofits to complete sustainable projects that are game changers.
This year’s project included pressure washing the garden beds; weeding old growth and installing new plantings; laying ten cubic yards of mulch throughout the site; trimming trees; organizing the utility shed; and laying a drip irrigation hose with a timer to make maintenance easier. The bounty of the garden will be enjoyed throughout the growing season to add fresh, easy-access produce to the residents’ daily menus. Over the winter, Isett team members also bought and built a table to provide a place to relax and reflect under the pergola.
The 2023 team included Charley Myers, Tess Strayer, Rebecca Schleicher, Kim Kyra, Kelly Friedberg, Britney Hayes, Greg Kurtz, Mike Nieves, Andrea Martin, Mike Keller, and Kevin Campbell. Ashley Eichlin of Isett’s Landscape Architecture department helped the team in advance by updating the garden plan and recommending vegetables and flowers to plant, all of which were again donated by Dan Schantz Greenhouse. In total, more than ten of Isett’s departments pitched in on the effort, whether helping in advance or rolling up their sleeves on project day. Check out the galleries below to view project highlights.
The Volunteer Center was awarded the 2023 PBS39 Good Neighbor Award for significantly contributing to improving the quality of life in our community. View the video recap from PBS39 below, explaining the award with additional project highlights and commentary from Isett.