By Mercy Salinas
Buckner Rio Grande Children’s Home
October 15 saw children’s dreams begin to blossom at the Rio Grande Children’s Home as ground was broken on the Children’s Prayer Garden. It was a beautiful morning as the residents, staff and volunteers gathered at the site for a day of work and celebration.
Jerry Maples beamed as he watched more than 50 participants work hard to plant over sixty frog-fruit, Turks cap, betony mistflower and white brush plants.
Maples is a volunteer at the Rio Grande Children’s Home, the designer of the Children’s Prayer Garden and a member of the McAllen-Mission Garden Club. More than two years ago, some residents of RGCH voiced their wish to have a place where they could retreat to spend time with God—a special place where they could seek God in the peaceful, natural surroundings of his beautiful creation.
When Maples got wind of the children’s desire, he immediately began working to make their wish come true. He started planning a garden that would not only be a place of beauty, but a garden that would be simple, practical and filled with native plants and flowers that would attract birds, butterflies and other wildlife. It would also be hardy and not easily affected by the harsh, extreme climate of South Texas. And keeping the wellbeing of the children and the environment in mind, it had to be organic. He shared his vision with others and eventually, the dream started to materialize as he recruited volunteers and donors.
The Children’s Prayer Garden will include an exotic fruit tree garden, a citrus garden, a grapevine garden and other trees and plants native to the area. In the midst of the garden, Maples plans to put a giant cross and three Italian Cypress Pine trees to represent the Trinity. The garden will also feature a pond with a waterfall.
Other volunteers at the Community Project Day included members of the McAllen-Mission Garden Club, the North McAllen Lions Club and First United Methodist Church of Harlingen, Texas. After the work day, volunteers joined the staff and residents for a luncheon at the Rio Grande Children’s Home Activity Center. After the luncheon, Maples and the volunteer groups were recognized and honored for their participation in the project.
The prayer garden has taken off, but there is still much to be done. Some of the needs are a vertical irrigation system, materials for the cross, material for benches, mulch, material for lighting and plants.
Help make a wish come true by prayerfully considering contributing to this special project by volunteering to work on the garden or by making a donation. For more information, call Monica Skrypinski or Mercy Lackey at 956-585-4847.
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