Connecting People, Help and Hope!


August Q&A: Community Garden Update with Philip St Laurent

This month, Barnabas Chief Operations Officer, Philip St Laurent, reports on the ongoing partnerships and progress of our community garden project launched last summer. He organizes and implements the project, a component of the Barnabas food program, while lead volunteer and gardening expert, Clifford Joyce, tirelessly coordinates the garden preparation, planting, maintenance and harvesting of produce.  
How and why was the community garden started?
The community garden project is a partnership with the University of Florida Extension Service, Nassau County Extension Service and St. Peter's Episcopal Church on Atlantic Avenue, Fernandina Beach. Its purpose is to educate local residents on how to set up, maintain and benefit from a community garden. The project, located on St. Peters Episcopal Church property, is part of an integrated, holistic approach to growing organic produce and learning proper nutrition. All of our seeds and plants are provided through a partnership with Farm to School, Farm to Community Family, Youth and Community Sciences at UF/IFAS Extension, and from Barnabas Center.
Who can participate in the garden and what are the benefits? 
We offer the opportunity to become community gardeners to Barnabas Center participants who are Nassau County residents and express the need and desire to grow their own produce. Many gardeners have saved money by not having to purchase store produce. Subsequently, the money they save is then used to pay bills or meet other family needs. We also hear success stories about participants and families losing weight and improving their overall health by eating more fresh produce from their gardens. And there's even the mental benefit of working in an outdoor environment with others who share the same reasons for wanting to be gardeners.
What kinds of produce are harvested?
We are preparing for planting the fall gardens with a variety of seasonal produce. So far, gardeners have grown broccoli, carrots, cabbages, peas, kohlrabi, turnips, onions, cauliflower, cabbage, radishes, leeks and garlic.
What is the layout and availability of garden spaces?
We have individual spaces: 7, 9 ft. by 14 ft. raised gardens and 2, 3 ft. by 21 ft. gardens. However, we plan to have all shared gardens this fall [BF1]  . To be considered for a space, please contact Philip at (904) 261-7000 ext. 107.


Barnabas Cooking Matters Class Makes 'World of Difference' in Graduates' Lives

Ten Cooking Matters students graduated on July 21 and took with them a new understanding of the benefits of eating healthier foods. For six weeks, participants gained cooking-based nutrition education that's packed with learning kitchen skills, trying new recipes, using ingredient substitutions, reading labels, shopping cost efficiently and much more.
"Cooking Matters has made a world of difference in my and my husband's life," said one participant. "We are now shopping for healthier foods and making more homemade recipes. After 22 years of marriage, we realized we both share a love of cooking. The classes have made it a fun time for us."
Cooking Matters is designed in conjunction with the Barnabas Health Services' efforts in chronic disease management for those patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and related health issues. The next free Cooking Matters session will start in November 2016. Stay tuned for updates and success stories from this new group of students!

Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort to 'Say Goodnight to Hunger'

Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort is participating in Omni Hotels & Resorts' Say Goodnight to Hunger effort, which is benefiting  Feeding America ® , the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the U.S. When Omni Hotels & Resorts' guests directly book their reservations on, the company will make a donation to Feeding America to provide a family of four their dinner for a week. ($1 helps provide 11 meals on behalf of local food banks. For each direct booking on, Omni will donate the equivalent of 28 meals.) Omni's goal is to help Feeding America provide more than 18.2 million meals each year for food banks to feed kids, families and seniors in communities across the country.
"I am so proud of Omni Hotels & Resorts for launching an initiative that will positively impact our local community. In Nassau County alone, there are 13 food pantries that will benefit from this wonderful program. Barnabas Center being one of them," said Donald Stamets, area managing director of the Omni Amelia Island Plantation.
Barnabas is a member of the national Feeding America group through the regional food bank, Feeding Northeast Florida. So, as a member agency, we benefit by being able to purchase reclaimed food at a deep discount. And we are the Feeding Northeast Florida hub in Nassau County, so the weekly food drop at Barnabas supplies all Nassau County member agencies.
"We are very grateful for the local Omni's ongoing support and community partnership to help feed families right here in our county," said Tania Yount, Barnabas chief development officer. "Plus, we are thankful for their continued sponsorship of our annual Empty Bowl fundraiser and many in-kind donations."

Nassau Boys & Girls Clubs Members + Barnabas Empty Bowls Paint Party = Lots of Fun!

The Miller Freedom Center Boys & Girls Club on Old Nassauville Road was the site for lots of smiles and creativity during a recent Barnabas Empty Bowls Paint Party. Twenty Summer Academy club members, ages 8-12 years old, excitedly added their personal touches to the bowls that will be used during the Barnabas Empty Bowls event to be held in November.
Sherryl Smith, Miller Freedom Center unit director, said, "The participants had a fantastic time painting the bowls! And they loved being a part of the upcoming Barnabas fundraiser and helping those in need."
"The painting party was as much fun for the boys and girls as it was for me. Their excitement for contributing to the fundraiser was inspiring," added Barbara Smith, assistant director of human resources at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.

'Empty Bowls' Bowl Painting Parties Continue...

Contribute your creativity at our upcoming Bowl Painting Parties where you'll learn how to paint these symbolic bowls used during the Barnabas Empty Bowls fundraiser in November. Adults and supervised children are welcome to paint bowls for free. Bowl Painting Parties will be held August 15, September 19 and October 17 at 4:00 pm in the Barnabas Food Pantry, 1303 Jasmine Street, Fernandina Beach. Please RSVP by the Friday before the party date to Audrey McClain, Development Assistant, at (904) 261-7000 ext. 106, or

Introducing Our New Medical Assistant: Rachel Edgy

ase join us in welcoming Rachel Edgy, a medical assistant who is working in the Barnabas Health Services center. Rachel is a Fernandina Beach High School graduate, having lived in Yulee most of her life. She is currently a student at Florida State College at Jacksonville and wants to become a physician assistant or medical doctor. She previously was a certified nursing attendant at Osprey Village. "I like the environment. It's upbeat," said Rachel about her new position at Barnabas.

New to You Expands Hours to Welcome After-Work Shoppers

New to You is now open until 8 p.m. on Fridays. We're looking forward to welcoming new shoppers who want to stop by after work. Summertime is winding down, and the fall, winter and holiday donations are already in demand, so please consider donating those much-needed items. Remember: we offer pick-up service for your larger donations on Wednesdays and Fridays. Call New to You at 321-2334 to schedule a pick-up. Thank you for your generous support. Your donations and purchases benefit Barnabas programs.

Your Monthly Donation Could Help Fulfill Daily Needs 
in Our Community

Every day in our community, our Nassau County neighbors struggle to make decisions about putting food on their tables, paying rent or utility bills, and purchasing medications or gas for transportation. Consequently, these individuals and families seek help from Barnabas for a range of services, including food, emergency rent and utility payments, medical and dental care, and much more. The daily need for services never ends, so would you please consider helping our neighbors by establishing a recurring, monthly donation to help us provide these essentials? Your monthly gift allows you to spread the payments across the year, lessening your larger, one-time financial impact. Plus, your recurring donation helps Barnabas improve its long-range planning and decision-making. Please visit Barnabas' secure online donation page to set up your recurring donation. Or click on "Donate Now"  below. Thank you, in advance, for your consideration and willingness to help our neighbors in need

Help & Hope Report July 2016

* New To You resale store aided 27 households in need of clothing and home goods
* Barnabas helped stabilize 21 households with rent, mortgage and utility  
   payments and provided 6 bikes through the Bikes for Barnabas program
* Barnabas provided 17,429 pounds of food to 640 households
* Barnabas instructed 10 households with cooking & nutrition classes through our      Cooking Matters program
* Barnabas Health Services treated 372 patients with medical, dental and mental    health services
* Barnabas provided crisis intervention services and counseling to 12 women through the Women's Health Initiative Nassau grant program

Upcoming Events

August 15th                                 Empty Bowls Paint Party
4:00pm                                        Barnabas Food Pantry

August 18th                                Vision Screening 
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.               Barnabas Center

August 25th                                Volunteer Orientation
1:00 p.m.                                     Barnabas Conference Room

September 8th                           Great Chefs of Amelia Island
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.                 Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

September 19th                         Empty Bowls Paint Party
4:00pm                                        Barnabas Food Pantry

October 17th                               Empty Bowls Paint Party
4:00pm                                        Barnabas Food Pantry

November 14                              Empty Bowls Luncheon
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.              Atlantic Rec Center

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