New York Life provides boost for EOA of Savannah-Chatham County

The $10,000 grant will allow them to expand their community garden
Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 2:10 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2023 at 3:58 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - On Wednesday, New York Life handed over the $10,000 Community Impact Grant and unveiled a new pollinator garden at the Economic Opportunity Authority for Savannah-Chatham County.

Money that will allow them to continue to support the food insecure in their community.

Providing a resource, you can’t find in a store.

“I actually am a Georgia master gardener. I am a gardener here and I am a master gardener.”

Sandra Cason has been tending the garden here since late June.

“I will probably never install a garden in July again, in this heat,” Cason chuckled.

But she did because she saw an opportunity to grow more than just food.

“A lot of it has to do with getting people reconnected with their food.”

Cason putting in the time, “even when it’s this hot out,” to bring this garden back to life.

Work that’s often overlooked and undervalued.

“The only way to sustain them is to pay somebody to manage them,” says Cason.

Which is why this check is so important, to those receiving it and handing it out, like New York Life’s Lydia Rayner-Syed

“I was involved in the early stages of the garden. Got my hands dirty, pulled plants up and painted some boxes. This means so much that we are able to have a hand in expanding this garden because the need in this community is so great. So, it’s very important to me, very special today.”

This grant money investing not in something but someone.

“She knows the best way to plant items in the garden. She’s done a tremendous job of putting this together,” says EOA Executive Director Terry Tolbert.

A garden that is now thriving and if Sandra has it her way, much more than food and flowers will be found here.

“It is very inspiring and when you see the reaction of people and they’re fascinated, and they’re inspired to maybe grow and maybe eat a little better, yeah, it just keeps you going,” says Cason.