IMG_0423.JPGA new club is taking root at Saint Viator High School: the Veggie Lions.

Elise Horbach ’19 created the club, recruiting several classmates to join her in this farming caper, and Mrs. Kathy Gallagher has agreed to be their moderator.

They take their name from their gardening mission. This summer, they will be tending a vegetable plot at the Viatorian Community Garden—one of 14 raised beds—in the enclosed garden on the grounds of the Viatorian Province Center, located just south of the high school campus.

Fr. Dan Hall, CSV, started the garden in 2012, with a single mission in mind: to provide nutritious vegetables to families in the Northwest suburbs, struggling to put food on the table.

Right from the outset, all of the garden’s output was intended to be donated to the more than 400 families per month, served by the Wheeling Township Food Pantry.

IMG_04202“It’s all about feeding the hungry,” Fr. Hall said at the start of the garden.

The Veggie Lions now will join in that mission. They are part of a growing ministry that helps animate one of the core objectives of the Viatorian Community, to fight hunger.

In years past, early harvests have yielded radishes, lettuce, beets, peppers, zucchini, squash, and eggplant, while the late summer led to hundreds of pounds of tomatoes.

The soil for the garden is rich, reflecting its early heritage as a working farm and nursery. In fact, over the last five years, Viatorian gardeners have donated nearly 9,000 pounds of vegetables to the food pantry, and nearly 2,000 pounds each of the last two summers.

The Veggie Lions will be working alongside other gardeners—who run the gamut from Viatorian associates and professed, to staff members and alumni—in furthering their goal of making fresh vegetables accessible to local families.