SHINNSTON, W.Va. (WBOY) – If you’ve driven past US Route 19 in Shinnston, you’ve likely driven past the Shinnston Community Garden. Maybe you didn’t even notice it, but Kimberly Southern did.

“I would drive by, and I would see a few ladies out here. I knew it was a job,” Southern, our October 2022 Celebrating Volunteer nominee, said. “And when Mr. Reger sadly passed away, they moved the garden to its present location, and starting a new garden isn’t easy. So, with the help of all of our local volunteers, our local businesses and organizations in town, we were able to have a successful garden this year.”

Shinnston Community Garden (WBOY Image)

The garden wasn’t just successful for the people who tended the crops, but also for the ones who benefit from the food.

“Mr. Lee Reger, who was a member of our community, he had a vision to start a garden back in 2014,” Southern said. “Him and his family, they planted a garden they harvest. His vision was to give all the produce to the Lord’s Pantry here in Shinnston.”

Crops being grown in the Shinnston Community Garden (Courtesy: Kimberly Southern)

According to Southern, the garden is finishing up a fantastic year.

“This year, God has blessed us with getting 663 pounds of produce out of the garden and giving to the pantry. We grow tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, strawberries. We’ve actually planted eight apple trees to see if they’ll harvest,” Southern said.

However, Southern can’t take credit for all the work; she has help from several other volunteers to make it happen.

“It’s me and three other ladies. And, actually, they were involved before I was. I volunteered over, probably about a year and a half ago. It’s been a real blessing to give back to our community and provide for the Lord’s Pantry not only for Shinnston people but people in surrounding communities and areas,” Southern said.

Crops being grown in the Shinnston Community Garden (WBOY Image)

For her work making sure people around the area are fed with fresh produce, Kimberly Southern has been given $500 by the Miley Legal Group, and has been named our Celebrating Volunteer for the month of October.