Cyprus Mail

Community garden to feed the needy and promote self worth

Ramzi in the community garden

By Bejay Browne

A COMMUNITY garden set up by a church in Paphos is helping to feed those in need as well as promoting a sense of self worth to volunteers.

Pastor Allan Hodgson of the Paphos Christian Fellowship International-PCFI – says that he hopes the idea will catch on in all communities in Cyprus, to enable people to get through the current crisis.

“On a recent trip to the UK, I saw something similar to what we are doing. I thought what a great idea it was and everything has gone from there,” said Hodgson of the project which was launched in February.

The project, called ‘Matthew 25’ after a chapter of the Bible, is manned by volunteers.

“We were very generously donated a field in Kissonerga in Paphos for free by a British couple which had been previously been used to keep horses. The couple also supplies us with water to irrigate our plants free of charge.”

The volunteers we grow vegetables, work on the land and eat what they grow.

“We are also giving the produce to needy families. We want to try and help as many people as possible, not just the members of our church,” the pastor said.

The pastor explained that as PCFI is an international church many members of the congregation originate from countries all over the world, as well as Cyprus.

“We have so many different nationalities such as people from Romania, Bulgaria, Egypt, the Philippines and Syria. In the current climate, many are finding it difficult to find work or to live here.”

The field which is around four acres is currently planted with tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. “As the season change so will the produce and everything is one hundred per cent organic,” he said.

There are currently three volunteers working the land plus and a church member who likes to go by just his first name, Ramzi, is in charge of them.

“Ramzi is wonderful and he loves what he is doing. It has been especially hard for some of the men, as they are no longer able to support their families and as they don’t have jobs their sense of self worth was low. But this project helps to give them back their sense of value.”

The pastor said that each year the church allocates a sum of money to charity and a budget of 2,000 euros was set for the new project.

He added that the tractor cost 1,500 euros and the irrigation system 400 or so euros, but further piping is still needed.

Matthew 25 has had a bumper crop of tomatoes and has already given away about 100 kilos.

“We also give what we can to support the Solidarity charity in Paphos which is helping needy families of the district,” Hodgson said.

In the future, Matthew 25 would like to have a small shop to sell some of the produce to the public to raise some more funds to purchase new seeds and a selection of fruit trees.

“We would not be selling for profit but to put the money back into trying to help feed people,” the pastor said.

“I think these types of projects in communities are the way forward to try and get through these difficult times and bring everyone together. Last week we gave our produce to 20 families and we would like to be able to help more.”



Pastor Allan Hodgson 96217416

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