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UPS and Atlanta’s Positive Outlook Foundation Garden

by Doug F.

UPS employee volunteers transformed a small patch of unused land into a garden full of hearty produce: corn, onions, okra, squash, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, beans, sweet potatoes and watermelon now fill a space that was previously vacant and unattractive.

A team of employees from two UPS departments collaborated to create this garden for Atlanta’s Positive Outlook Foundation, Inc. (POFI), a transitional housing program that assists homeless families working toward obtaining permanent housing. UPS is a HandsOn Network supporter.

The “seeds” of the garden were planted one day when a UPS team volunteered to paint some of the homes owned by POFI.  An employee saw an empty, weeded plot of land and asked if there were plans to use it.  He was told of plans to plant a garden there “some day” to give the residents a project and a sense of purpose and pride, as well as provide additional food.

A group of UPS employees decided to make “some day” happen quickly.  They raised support from other sources, including more than $2,500 in products and services from The Home Depot Foundation.  A small team gathered additional materials, dug post holes, set them in concrete, tilled the entire garden plot area and helped begin the fencing and painting before planting day.

On the day itself, department managers, along with several other UPS team members, transformed the patch from tilled land to a completed, functioning garden, including rainwater barrels, gutters, sprinklers and gated fences. Throughout the day, the employee volunteer crew was joined by POLI clients, board and staff members.

The sweaty, smiling faces at the end of the day made clear that seeds had also been planted for enhanced relationships and synergies between UPS, The Home Depot and the Atlanta community where they live and work.

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