Written by Stephen Messenger
Life can seem hopeless for folks on the margins of society, struggling to make do in these tough economic times. But even in the dark pit of poverty, where rays of hope shine their dimmest, there’s often still light enough for a new life to take hold. With that in mind, one man in Alabama is giving his city’s homeless community a helping hand — one with a green thumb.
All too often, those most in need are the hardest to see and easiest to overlook. But when Rusty Loiselle learned that homeless camps were springing up along wooded roadsides in his native Huntsville, it was something he couldn’t ignore.
Perhaps taking a page from the “you can teach a man to fish” adage, Rusty chose not to merely fill their stomachs for a day by offering food, instead deciding to donate his time teaching them how to grow their own. So, he soon filled his truck with saplings and gardening tools to help those less fortunate establish their own vegetable gardens.
“I didn’t even realize that we had homeless, but now I know there’s way too many of them, and I’m trying to do something,” says Rusty.
“Some of the healthier stuff for them, rather than having to go to the store and pay prices that they really can’t afford. I plan on being out here as much as possible to help them keep their bellies full and keep them warm.”
While the vegetable gardens will certainly provide some fresh food for folks who need it most, Rusty hopes that the newfound sense of empowerment and psychological sustenance grown there will feed them for a lifetime.
And as those plants have taken root in the checkered sunlight along the unseen edges of town — so too has a bit of hope.
This post was originally published by TreeHugger.