Brownwood Area Community Garden launches fundraiser to address needs


BROWNWOOD, Texas - A community garden in Brownwood that donates more than half the produce it grows to a local soup kitchen is now in desperate need of funds, according to organizers.

The Brownwood Area Community Garden kicked off a challenge on Thursday to pull itself out of its bleak financial situation. A patron will match every dollar donated to them, up to $1,000.

"Last month, if it wasn't for a very generous donation, we wouldn't have been able to pay our part-time person," said Cary Perrin, who serves on the garden's board. "So we're going week to week, month to month."

They have 64 raised garden beds, but 34 of them are used to grow produce for the Salvation Army's free lunch program.

"Sometimes we're just on the cusp of being able to afford it," Perrin said of operating the garden.

Shylo Durbin is the Assistant Kitchen Manager at the Salvation Army. She said it would be unfortunate for the garden to close.

"It helps us feed our clients at a minimum cost to us," Durbin said. "They're also getting nutritious food."

Augustus Myers knows exactly how nutritious those meals are. When he left prison after serving a six year sentence, he was homeless in Brownwood and lived in a tent. Myers said the Salvation Army saved his life.

"I'd eat up here every single day they were open. Five days a week, I'd have one meal a day," Myers said. "On the weekends, we had to fend for ourselves, so I either starved or had to eat out of trash cans."

Myers now works two full-time jobs, and owns a home and a vehicle. But he still visits the Brownwood soup kitchen to support those who are homeless.

"Everybody looked down on me ... but I still have to live, I have to eat," Myers said. "It doesn't matter what everyone else thinks."

The community garden's fundraiser goes until October 2. People can drop off donations at their office, which is located behind the Salvation Army.

Donations can also be mailed to Brownwood Area Community Garden, P.O. Box 1062, Brownwood, Texas, 76804.