Local Savannah bank, Center Parc Credit Union, donated $2,500 to provide hands-on learning experiences for students and promoting nutritional awareness. The credit union donated the funds to Savannah State University’s community garden as part of its Community Gardens Program, established in August 2020.
Center Parc’ Community Engagement Liaison and SSU alumnus Donna Williams presented the check to the garden’s founders, Melanie Smith and Joline Keevy, and student gardeners. Williams said the bank is proud to donate to the garden because it supports students, faculty and others and the management recognizes the garden’s potential for food and education.
Student gardeners were excited about the donation. Andrew Okorodudu explained the garden’s importance of garden. “Where I’m from [Lagos, Nigeria], there are not a lot of opportunities like this, [when] you go to college [and there is] an agricultural setting. We’ve been able to plant bell peppers, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, squash and zucchini that all help support the human immune system.”
The community garden will benefit students’ dietary lifestyles, he added, specifically boosting student athletes' diets.
“As a basketball player and as an athlete, I’m [geared] to more foods like that because it nourishes my body,” Okorodudu said.
The idea to develop a garden on campus has been discussed for several years and finally took root in November 2020, according to Sue Ebanks of the SSU Department of Marine and Environmental Science.
“The garden has been a joint effort for faculty, staff, students and administrators,” she said.
Gardeners may plant vegetables, fruits and flowers. Students organizations and students of all classifications are welcomed to use the community garden, organizers said.
The check presentation was held Aug. 23 at the garden located across from Payne Hall’s parking lot on Jasmine Avenue.
Center Parc Credit Union is a division of the Atlanta Postal Credit Union, the oldest credit union in the state of Georgia. There are two locations in the Savannah area, 160 Pooler Parkway, and 6000 Ogeechee Road.