How you started and how you got to where you are today.

I am a USAF veteran who never experienced homelessness until I returned back to Riverside, CA. In August 2005, I was living with my Aunt near University California Riverside, not realizing that the multitudes of people caring backpacks were not students until I became a member of that population in 2006. After four years of paying at least half of my social security check to various persons who would rent a room to me. 

I landed at an Organization called “Hope Again” in Hollywood, CA., where I resided for 24 months. It was there that God truly revealed himself to me, showing me that he had blessed me with superior talents as he does for us all, but I had to go deep within my self to find them. 

This story is about my second gift. Mrs. Carol Clark the owner of Hope Again managed a classic style, apartment building just off of Hollywood Blvd, with a swimming pool, the landscape was in very bad shape. It took me six months and her building took on it’s original Hollywood Star status, it was then that I realized that I was doing what came naturally to me due to the fact that I started gardening at the age of five years old.


Moving forward to June 2014, when I briefly found my self homeless again, the VA homeless program found me a home a the Salvation Army Bell Shelter, where I volunteered in their small vegetable garden. Mrs. Alma Martinez, associate director of the shelter recognized my talents and offered me a small section of land approx 1,150 sq ft of land to produce healthy vegetables for the homeless. My responsibility was to do it at my own expense. 

Thus IGH gardens first planting began in September 2014, totally subsidized via my social security. The garden produces in excess of 3,900 lbs annually. Please visit igh gardens on Instagram for your viewing, IGH gardens is now a non-profit dedicated to becoming a “teaching” garden” and continuing to donate proceeds to the homeless with special attention to women and children shelters in the metro Los Angeles area.
 
We are very excited about our new location which approx four times the size of our original spot. I would like to thank the Feel Good Salsa company of Long Beach for their support along with several others including this magazine.

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5600 K Street Bell California 90201 (Campus of Salvation Army Bell Shelter for the homeless)