Teen donates $5,000 to plant trees and feed the poor

June 18, 2013

Typical teen-aged boys spend their weekends hanging out with friends and playing video games. There's nothing wrong with that. But Griffin Shapiro set out on a different track when he ventured out to our orchard one Sunday afternoon in spring 2012 to get down in the dirt to help us plant more than 1,000 fruit trees - the benefits of which will stock our food pantry for DC's low-income families!

Griffin first got involved with the orchard through his synagogue, the Washington Hebrew Congregation. "There was a project to go out and plant Asian pear and apple trees. I decided to go, and I really liked it," he said. "After I did that, I really liked Bread for the City, so I wanted to do more."

Not long after helping us plant fruit trees at City Orchard, Griffin celebrated his Bar Mitzvah. And, again unlike most teens, Griffin decided to use his Bar Mitzvah gifts to help those less fortunate. Remembering his experience with City Orchard, he reached out to us and — on his own — sponsored a full crop of 2,300 strawberry bushes with a gift of $5,000. Planted just this past May, this collection of growing strawberries is now affectionately known as Griffin's Patch.

"Clients are really excited about this new addition," says Jeffrey Wankel, BFC's Urban Ag Specialist. "I mention strawberries, and their eyes light up." It will take a year for these strawberries to grow to full harvest potential, but what's great is that they're an everbearing variety, meaning that we'll be able to reap at least two full harvests per year as opposed to a single harvest in May.

Griffin's parents are so proud of their son for giving back. "My husband and I are thrilled that he has been able to volunteer and put in some of his own effort rather than just giving funds," says his mom, Nell. She added, "We really support the initiative, creativity, and healthful eating emphasis behind the notion of an orchard dedicated to helping those in need."

When Griffin returned to volunteer in the orchard this past spring, he was so excited to see the fruits of his labor literally. "I could actually see the stuff that I had planted and see how much it had grown," he said. "It's so cool to look at something that's real, that's there — something you can point to and say, ‘I made that happen.'"

You sure did, Griffin, and we can't thank you enough!

Interested in volunteering or sponsoring a tree in City Orchard? Find out here how you can get involved.

Source: Bread for the City, Jessica Raven  |  Image: Bread for the City

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