Fresh produce garden attracts shoppers to Clinton 4C’s

Shoppers know the 4C’s as a thrift store supplying clothing, dishes, food, face masks, toys and much more. But the successful nonprofit in Clinton is also a hot spot to pick up fresh produce like okra, squash and zucchini free of charge.

The Clinton Community Christian Corporation staff is partnering with First Baptist Church Clinton to create the F.A.I.T.H. garden program.

It’s an initiative that’s worked well the past three-plus years to support Clinton area residents with healthy foods, says 4C’s director Laurie Lawson. What’s so great about the fresh food from the garden? “It’s never sold. It’s always given away,” said Lawson. Tomatoes and salad greens are available, too.

Volunteers from FBC Clinton take on a variety of tasks to make it a success.

“They built raised beds, supplied the garden with dirt, seeds and plants,” Lawson said. “Some volunteers come to plant, others to weed and harvest.”

Lawson said the community’s response in recent months has been pretty positive, with more than three hundred people enjoying the healthy garden foods since May, Lawson said.

When families shop at the 4C’s food pantry, they suddenly discover fresh produce items nearby to put on their plates at home.

“They are also provided vegetables from the garden, when they are available,” Lawson said. “When families do not come in, patrons from the thrift store are provided with vegetables, so that no food is wasted.” The food from the F.A.I.T.H. garden is “for the community, not staff necessarily unless they need it.’”

Earlier this year, the 4C’s was forced to slice its hours, like many businesses across the nation.

But with the Magnolia State reopening weeks ago, Lawson says 4C’s hours are back to normal early this summer. Hours are from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The community-minded leader of the 4C’s, Lawson stays busy year-round. In addition to leading the nonprofit founded in 1971, the Hinds County resident also serves as director of the social work program at her alma mater, Mississippi College, in Clinton.

Mississippi College students, faculty and staff are among the volunteers at the 4C’s.

Volunteers are always needed at the nonprofit year-round. But the agency staff says they have really appreciated the volunteers’ services during the pandemic. Food is needed to keep the pantry stocked. People may also serve the pantry financially. Volunteers do food shopping, too, and deliver scores of meals to homes in the Clinton area each day.

Lawson first became involved with the 4C’s in 1983 as a Mississippi College student intern.

The goal of the 4C’s is to create awareness of needs in the community and coordinate available resources to help local residents.

Certainly, the F.A.I.T.H. garden program is another good vehicle to meet those needs, say supporters of the 4C’s.

Dr. Lawson thanks First Baptist Church Clinton members for their assistance with the project.

Visitors to the 4C’s will notice one thing recently changed due to the COVID-19 health emergency: people are required to wear masks to help curb the spread of the virus.

The 4C’s is located at 2001 West Northside Drive. For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, contact Laurie Lawson at 601-924-9436.

 

 

By Andy Kanengiser

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