Between the ongoing protests, bickering politicians and the widespread pandemic, there is so much negativity in our world right now.
But a Hartford couple is proof that good people do still exist. They have a garden, but it’s what they do with that garden and why that makes it a tearjerker.
“Well we started out with a smaller garden the first couple of years,” Don Schroeder said.
If you don’t know Don and Mary Schroeder, then you don’t know beans about their garden.
“Since Don and I have been together, we’ve been doing it for 13 years,” Mary Schroeder said.
And in that time, it has really grown.
From sweet corn to potatoes to tomatoes, you name it, they probably grow it.
They started giving a lot of it away to their family and friends, but they still had too much.
So, they started donating their veggies to Feeding South Dakota.
“We were donating there, until COVID hit, when they shut down their walk-in coolers, so they referred us to the St. Francis House,
And the St. Francis House couldn’t be happier.
“We were loaded up with a whole pallet of sweet corn today as well as some other produce, so it’s just been a gift for our guests to have, good nutritious food to be able to feed them,” St. Francis House executive director Julie Becker said.
Today, Don and Mary dropped off almost 500 pounds of their vegetables. But that’s small potatoes.
Don and Mary have been doing this for quite a few years. They estimate in the last five years, they donate between eight and 11,000 pounds of vegetables every year.
“It makes us feel good,” Don said. “There are so many people who need help and we got the time and the resources, we are both retired now, so what better way to spend our time than to help others.”
“It’s indescribable how it makes you feel, it makes you feel warm inside and you’re helping someone who needs that help,” Mary said.
They also want to thank their young neighbor kids, who lend a helping hand.
“Bless those kids, because we can’t hardly do it anymore, it’s getting hard to do it at our age, without those guys helping, not sure we could get it all done,” Don said.
Their willingness to help others is something they say is deeply rooted in their faith as Don fights cancer.
“I figure I’m going to meet my maker one of these days, I want to have a little good on the positive side of the sheet, you know, helping others, you can’t get any better than that and that’s my way of giving back,” Don said.
The St. Francis House didn’t even know that about Don. When they found out he has cancer, their garden donation sprouted a lot of tears.
“To know when people are having their own battles, but yet their hearts are servant hearts, to give to other people, it’s simply amazing,” Becker said.
Mary also does a lot of canning. She donates about a thousand jars of produce every year to help feed the hungry.