Reading Rotary Club Donates $6,000 to Support Community Garden Expansion Expansion will benefit the Reading Food Pantry

At their meeting on October 17, the Reading Rotary Club voted to support a $6,000 donation to support the expansion of the Reading Community Garden located at the Mattera Conservation Area. This approval comes after two months of collaboration between the Reading Rotary Club and the Community Garden Steering Committee.

The local Reading Rotary Club is applying for a districtwide grant to help fund this project. Rotary districtwide grants support projects that promote the seven focus areas of Rotary: promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water and sanitation, saving mothers and children, supporting education, growing local economies, and protecting the environment. Sheila Clarke, Reading Rotary Co-President, explains, “I reached out to Town Manager Fidel Maltez to ask if there were local projects that might fit these focus areas. He was kind enough to connect us with the Community Garden Steering Committee and we began to have discussions to see if Rotary could help.”

Community Garden Steering Committee member Cathy Zeek explains, “We have a local volunteer who maintains a small garden bed that provides fresh produce for clients of the Reading Food Pantry. This garden plot was able to provide produce for Food Pantry clients this past year but we would love to create a much larger garden plot, fully run by volunteers, to be able to provide a larger amount and greater variety of produce to support the more than 120  households who use the Reading Food Pantry. We currently don’t have funds to buy the supplies to make that happen.”

At their meeting on October 17, the Reading Rotary voted to donate $6,000 to make this dream a reality. Planning will start immediately, and the new garden is anticipated to provide a variety of fresh produce for the Food Pantry next year. Reading Rotary Co-President John Douglass is thrilled with this project: “This is what Rotary is all about. Finding needs in the community and solving them. Rotarians are not only donating the funds; we will be on hand next spring to help in the actual build of the garden.”

Rotarian Jeanne Borawski is currently writing a grant to support this project. She explains, “This was a great project for the district grant as it covers so many of our focus areas, particularly fighting disease, saving mothers and children, and protecting the environment.”

This project enjoys the support of the Town of Reading, The Reading Community Garden Steering Committee, The Reading Food Pantry, and the Reading Rotary Club. To learn more about how to support the Reading Community Garden, contact Cathy Zeek at To learn more about how to support the Reading Food Pantry, visit To learn how the Reading Rotary Club has fun while serving others, visit

Residents are encouraged to follow the Reading Rotary Club and Reading Food Pantry on social media.

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