Resource Rescue Round-Up: Garden Goods

Aug 18 2016

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We Grow Dreams Empowering Gardens





One of the great ways  that SCARCE serves the community is by connecting non-profits and schools with supplies they need. Many organizations (and people) have learned to call us when they have items they no longer need, either to learn where to donate them or how to recycle them. Sometimes that means a visit to our  Book Rescue, other times it’s serendipity and good timing.

April Showers Bring May Flowers…and Lots of Flower Pots!

Black Pots

We Grow Dreams extra planting pots

In mid-July SCARCE was contacted by Gregg Bettcher from  We Grow Dreams – a not-for-profit garden center in West Chicago that provides job training for people with developmental disabilities. They had thousands of 8″ black plastic plant pots that had been returned  to them through their take-back program. These pots didn’t fit their growing flats so they couldn’t use them. Gregg was hoping we had an idea for them to get recycled or reused.

Now, SCARCE does collect some gardening supplies seasonally to help with school gardens and our own Get Your Garden Growin’ Green event. However, we don’t typically collect large quantities of items – there’s simply no space for it all (believe us, we wish we could collect it all!). Luck would have it that two of SCARCE’s long-time volunteers, Tip and Marilyn, knew exactly what to do with them.


SCARCE’s director, Kay was chatting with Tip and Marilyn and mentioned those plant pots and boy what great timing! Just this past April, Tip and Marilyn’s daughter-in-law, Ana, had begun Empowering Gardens, a non-profit garden center in Forest Park with a similar vocational training program to that of We Grow Dreams. They had recently received a large donation of flower bulbs and were in desperate need of planting pots for them.

SCARCE employees and our volunteers alike truly dislike wasting perfectly good resources – and enjoy working for a cause – so, that Saturday, Tip and Marilyn drove over to We Grow Dreams in West Chicago and picked up the pots. When they arrived in Forest Park, pots in tow, they learned that not only did Ana have a lot of flower bulbs, she had thousands upon thousands that had been donated. An entire semi-truck of bulbs had arrived and Empowering Gardens had been struggling to keep the bulbs chilled before they were either sold or planted.

What Goes Around, Comes Around

Tip and Marilyn got another great idea. Why not bring a carload back to We Grow Dreams? They gave them a call and they were thrilled! Tip and Marilyn loaded up their car with flower bulbs and made a delivery to We Grow Dreams.

We love it when things work out this way  and appreciate our volunteers and organizations that want to reduce waste and share resources. In the end, We Grow Dreams was able to donate it’s unusable pots to a great cause, Empowering Gardens received desperately needed supplies,  and then share some flower bulbs in return, resources were shared and not wasted and both organizations made a good connection they expect to flourish. It was a win-win-win all around.

Are You Ready To Do Your Part?

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