Parishioners at St. Brendan's Episcopal Church planted a "Garden of Hope" in April and started donating harvested vegetables to local charities in May. The "Garden of Hope" project builds upon St. Brendan's ongoing, year-round efforts to support local food banks and homeless shelters as part of their commitment to outreach in the community. 

"The purpose of this effort is to reach out to our neighbors who are struggling with food insecurity. At St. Brendan's we're keenly aware of the lack of access to fresh produce for many of our neighbors. Short term we are providing fresh produce directly to the North Hills Food Bank. In the fall we plan to reach out to other organizations," said Vanessa Capozzi, parish member and ministry leader for the Garden of Hope. 

Parishioners of all ages, including many children and youth, have contributed to the effort by building raised beds, installing fencing, planting seeds, watering, weeding and harvesting. The garden is located in the backyard of St. Brendan's church on McAleer Road in Franklin Park. Funding for the garden was provided by St. Brendan's CRIES Advocacy Fund and a grant from the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

"The 'Garden of Hope' is the catalyst for a summer program offered to the children and youth attending our Saturday service. We will be studying the 'Abundant Life Garden Project,' which is an interactive, scripture-based program offered by Episcopal Relief and Development. After each lesson we will be caring for our 'Garden of Hope' and taking vegetables that we harvest to the altar for Fr. Scott to bless," said Jill Halapin, Coordinator of Children and Youth Ministries.

"We are pleased that the garden is thriving and we have been able to deliver bags upon bags of fresh produce to help our neighbors who are struggling," said Fr. Scott Russell, St. Brendan's Rector. "St. Brendan's is committed to community outreach and we especially enjoy hands-on activities where children and adults alike can be active participants in helping others in our community."