Oceanside CA- It is literally and figuratively a case of planting the seeds with children. And it’s also a case of workers stepping forward with passion to support local military families.
Those may be the best ways to describe a new garden program at the Fisher Children’s Center, a childcare facility operated by the Armed Services YMCA at Camp Pendleton.
The program — designed to teach kids about planting, growing and healthy eating — features three new large outdoor planter boxes that will be used to grow vegetables. Sixty small starter pots of soil and seeds were also provided to give the children an opportunity to start a garden at home.
“The new planter boxes and small starter gardens are going to be part of a new curriculum that teaches children about growing food and eating healthy,” said Yesi Calderon, Fisher Children’s Center site manager. “We are grateful for the new addition to the center and can’t wait to see the kids’ reactions when their seeds start to grow.”
Center officials reached out to North County corporations for help to start the program. OptumRx, a pharmacy care services company with offices in nearby Carlsbad, quickly responded.
“Without hesitation we made a commitment to get the supplies, create the boxes and deliver them to the center,” said Angela Brown, an OptumRx quality engineer who oversaw the company’s participation in the project. “This wonderful project aligns with our company’s goals of encouraging and supporting health and wellness in the community.”
A team of about 20 employees volunteered. Using their own tools and skills, the team assembled the materials and built the rectangular boxes. The funding was provided by the United Health Foundation.
When the planters were complete employees drove them to the center, set them up and then helped the children and staff with adding soil, planting the seeds and getting everything just right.
Brown noted that the project was a labor of love for the employees who appreciated the chance to support the center, which serves about 50 children a day. The facility provides low-cost care for children up to age five who are part of active duty families living on the base or in surrounding cities.
“It was fun to see the kids play in the dirt and exciting to know that what we did today will benefit our families for years to come,” said Calderon.