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

Reading Rotary co-presidents Sheila Clarke and John Douglass present a $6,000 check to Reading Food Pantry Board Member Simone Payment and Community Garden Steering Committee Member Cathy Zeek.

Reading, MA — At their meeting on December 5, the Reading Rotary Club was delighted to hear a presentation from Reading Community Garden steering committee member Cathy Zeek and Reading Food Pantry board member Simone Payment. The women shared plans for an expansion of the Community Garden at the Mattera Cabin site next spring. This large garden, which will produce vegetables dedicated to clients of the Reading Food Pantry, will be tended by local volunteers. All produce will be given away to residents struggling with food insecurity.

Reading Rotary Co-President Sheila Clarke says, “This is such an exciting project for Rotary to be part of. We are thrilled to have a meaningful impact on improving access to healthy, fresh food for all residents.” Co-President John Douglass agrees: “The Rotary Club not only plans to support this project financially to buy supplies and materials, our members will be out there this spring getting our hands dirty actually building the garden.”

At the end of the meeting, the Reading Rotary co-presidents presented the two women with a symbolic check for $6,000, representing the money the Reading Rotary Club has committed toward this project in spring 2023.

Simone Payment presenting information about the planned 2023 expansion of the Community Garden.

The funds will come from donations from local Rotarians and a district-wide grant. Jeanne Borawski, who spearheaded the grant writing, explains, “While the Reading Rotary Club focuses on local work, Rotary is an international organization committed to improving the world in seven focus areas: promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water and sanitation, saving mothers and children, supporting education, growing local economies, and protecting the environment. Working with the Community Garden and Food Pantry is the perfect opportunity to act locally, while thinking globally.”

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 Food Pantry, visit To learn how the Reading Rotary Club has fun while serving others, visit

Follow the Reading Rotary Club and Reading Food Pantry on social media for updates on progress towards creating a Reading Food Pantry community garden.

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