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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Food Pantry

Today I delivered some produce to the Food Pantry at the First United Methodist Church. While there I became aware of a story about the Food Pantry. My plan was to write a blog on the Children's Gardens involvement with growing food for the hungry. After seeing this story I have decided, with permission, to post this story. At a later time I will post the story of the Children's Gardens involvement.

I know this will take some time to read, but please do. This woman was amazing and totally gave of herself. As you read this, see what one committed woman did to make a difference. This is within all of us. What can you do?

Phyllis and Wayne Gehres

Phyllis Gehres

Phyllis began feeding the hungry children in Van Wert County in 1975 She volunteered her time to administer the Zook Fund, which was a fund established through the First United Methodist Church to assist the needy poor. Phyllis continued on in this capacity until 1981. The fund served fourteen families in 1975 gradually increasing to 169 families helped in 1980. She made the congregation aware of the need and the donations came in.

In 1981 Phyllis shared her concerns for the needy children with the United Methodist Cooperative Ministries. They agreed to establish a food pantry if Phyllis would volunteer to manage it. She agreed and the United Methodist Cooperative Food Pantry became a reality.

As you can imagine there was a lot of food to take in, shelve and dispense, and also food to purchase with donations received. From the beginning Phyllis established that 100% of the funds donated would be used for food. She, or other volunteers she recruited, would donate all other expenses. Phyllis and her husband, Wayne, would drive their station wagon to Toledo to buy food at a discount.

In 1989 The Food Pantry became an agency of the Lima Area Food Bank, currently known as the West Ohio Food Bank. Between October of' '89' and September '99' Phyllis, Wayne and their station wagon made over 100 trips to Lima for food, a distance of over seventy miles round trip. Phyllis arranged for our Food Pantry to become an agency of Second Harvest in 1999.  Second Harvest now supplies some of our food at no cost to us.

Phyllis worked in the pantry through the days and shared her concerns for the needy with any group that would have her speak in the evenings. Because of her efforts we now regularly receive donations from several churches that are not a part of Cooperative Ministries; we also receive donations from our area businesses, schools, sororities, county employees and youth groups. The Scouts conduct our biggest food drive each year. They distribute bags one Saturday and the following Saturday pick them up full of food.  Phyllis always managed to provide plenty of hot chocolate and cookies for the scouts.

Her efforts have resulted in making the Food Pantry a community effort to feed hungry children. It is truly a miracle.

Despite illnesses, which have seriously affected both Wayne and herself, Phyllis remained active in the Food Pantry until April 2002. Over the past 27 years she has contributed large amounts of time and money to feed the hungry. Phyllis and Wayne are of modest means and her contributions remind me of Luke 21:1-4.

It would have been easy for Phyllis to become discouraged by the immense task of trying to feed all the hungry children in the world but her philosophy was much the same as Mother Teresa's, "We can do no great things, only small things with great love."Each child fed is one child that won't go to bed hungry.

I soon will be posting what we are doing at the Children's Garden to help........Louise.


Monday, August 18, 2014

New Residents

The last few days I had a funny feeling that we were being inhabited by something or someone. The first signs came from the front landscape when I noticed someone had dug a hole in the mulch under one of the boxwood bushes. Since I was trying to clean up around the house from weeds that I unfortunately let grow, I flattened and covered the hole.

The following night when I came home in the dark my headlights caught the glimpse of a four legged furry creature fleeing from the house. Naturally, the next morning I decided to check it out, once again the hole had appeared in the same location. In double checking the rest of the boxwood's I discovered several branches just laying on the ground of one of the bushes. Now, how did that happen? I know I didn't cut them.

Saturday, my husband mowed our lawn, we had to borrow a friends mower which is an unfortunate thing you have to do when yours breaks down and ends up in the shop. The following day I noticed a clump of grass and thought that's interesting, it wasn't there when he finished mowing. So, in the process of investigating, the mysterious and similar hole appeared in the lawn. Once again, I leveled it out!

So Tiny
Today as I ventured to work I looked at the area where the clump of grass was. I took a closer look and low and behold, we have new residents residing with us. I guess I feel bad now, I made the poor mother move from one location to another just so she could make a home for her babies.

Now all I need to do is prevent this guy from making a treat out of the new guests that our making our yard their home.

Hunter....Our Family Dog

Friday, August 8, 2014

Location, Location, Location

We, here in Van Wert, Ohio, live where US 127 and US 30 (Lincoln Highway) intersect at the corner of Washington and Main.

Every year, in August, the US 127 Longest Yard Sale begins. It starts in Addison, Michigan and reaches to Gadsen,  Alabama. It travels 690 miles. Not every year does the Lincoln Highway Yard Sale correlate with the US 127 sale, but this year it did. The Lincoln Highway sale started in 2005 in West Virginia coming through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. It is 250 miles long.

This week we are the hub of traffic and major shopping. There are people with motor homes, trailers and carriers on their cars from all over the country and are on a mission. In fact HGTV cameras and crew were here filming for a show about this annual event that is to be aired sometime in October.

There is a plethora of merchandise, from antiques, crafts, art, food and you name it. It is all here for a price. Today the traffic is bumper to bumper and people are everywhere with shopping bags. People are interesting, so even if you are not a shopper it is a treat to just observe all the activity

You never pass a Lemonade Stand.

Even has a Helmet


Council On Aging



Travel anyone?

stephanie dawn

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Beauty of Van Wert Where is This?????


Wonderful Planter

The Big Exolosion

Louise: On the 24th of June through the generosity of Hearth and Home Assisted Living, where my Mother resides, supplied the Butterfly House at Smiley Park with 40 butterflies of which there were 14 monarchs. They brought the residents to the park so they could assist with the release. There were enough that visitors in the park also got to participate. Most of us are familiar with the beautiful orange and black Monarch butterfly. The rest were Painted Ladies.

Hearth and Home Release

Asclepias   Swamp Milkweed

I had been away from town for a few days, so when I returned,  I made a trip to the park to check on the gardens. This was the 21st of July, three days short of a month when we had released the butterflies. I peeked in the butterfly house and saw something a bit different. The plants looked like bare sticks. Upon further investigation I discovered a giant explosion. There were hundreds of caterpillars and they had stripped all of the  host plants, milkweed.

Monarchs only lay their eggs on and feed from the milkweed. There were, and I counted 87 chrysalis, plus 12 flying Monarchs. It was breath taking.

Monarch Cats

Sue: I received a call from Louise that same day she is referring to. Of course I had to go out to the park to see for myself and take some pictures (the truth be told she told me to). There were so many caterpillars you had to be very careful not to step on any.  The Children's Garden had many visitors that evening, as always, and several wanted to go into the Butterfly House since I was going in. I had to explain to them why they couldn't,  but could still observe from the outside.

It was interesting  the questions they asked. Of course with my limited knowledge, I tried to sound like I knew what I was talking about. They were all attentive to what I had to say. There were a couple that I had a wonderful conversation. The gentleman wasn't from Van Wert, but his girlfriend was, and at this time I can't remember where he did say he was from, you know they say memory is the first thing to go! But anyway, they thought the entire Garden's were just wonderful and had many questions about the Monarch's. One young boy, from Spencerville, was there with his grandparents. He was very inquisitive, and like all the kids wanted to come inside also! Thanks Louise, I'm glad I went out.

Louise: Early in the spring plants were planted, thinking we would be prepared for at least a few monarch butterflies.  The last few seasons, the entire country had a decreasing population of Monarchs. With chemicals being used for weed control and a virus in Mexico, where they spend their winters, this has taken its toll on this beautiful butterfly. There is a plea for us all to plant milkweed so to have a food supply for them as they make their journey to and from Mexico. They return to the same place each year. Migration is at different times depending what part of the country you live. Here the migration begins in September. Learn more about the migration of the Monarch from PBS's documentary  The Flight Of The Monarch.

Since the plants were stripped, we canvased ditch banks to dig milkweed by the bucket full to supply them with food.

This has been very exciting to see first hand the whole process. When the time is right the cat attaches its self to a stable surface. It forms a J position, then forms its chrysalis. In about 10 days to two weeks it emerges as a beautiful Monarch. The butterfly hangs in its wet condition for awhile, while it fills its wings with fluid before it takes flight. There life span is approximately two weeks, few will survive a few months. This new generation will deposit their eggs and life will begin once again. To date we have released more than one hundred Monarch Butterflies into the park. To be sure that they have a good  food supply we felt this best. We have been providing, beside the milkweed, watermelon, bananas and oranges.

Supplementary Food

Chrysalis and Caterpillar in it's J Position

Our schools are doing a good job educating our youth about the butterflies. We also do programs at the Butterfly House to educate all who are interested. Again thank you Hearth and Home for supplying the first butterflies.

Louise and Sue