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Pitching In: Brighton Township Community Comes Together to Build Wheelchair Accessible Gardens (May 21, 2012)

On June 8th, several hundred volunteers from towns within the Pennsylvania township of Brighton will come together to build eight raised gardens at independent senior living centers and nursing homes in Allegheny, Butler and Washington counties. Lead by local resident and master gardener, Mike Durham, the project aims to provide those living in wheelchairs and with walkers the ability to plant both flower and vegetable gardens like so many had done in their own homes for years.

Durham first designed the plot layout last year for Senior Gardens in Brighton. The response to his work was so overwhelming that he then pitched the concept to potential supporters, including a local Home Depot, to see how they could build similar gardens on a larger scale so to assist even more disabled residents in the area.

Pam Narvett, store manager at Home Depot in Chippewa, was so impressed by Durham that she asked eight other Home Depot store managers about participating as volunteers to support the project. “It was the fact that someone was able to do something (garden again) that they’d enjoyed for so many years,” Narvett explained when asked why she decided to get involved.

Thanks to Durham’s passion and Narvett’s coordination, the project secured a $7,000 grant from Home Depot to cover all related costs to building the eight gardens – wood, tools, mulch and fencing. With donations from additional companies for soil and plants, the design will become a reality early next month.

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