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From the Toledo Blade…
Whitehouse continues to embrace the nonprofit Aspiring Hands by offering more partnerships with the organization that gives adults with disabilities projects and opportunities to contribute to society.
In December, Aspiring Hands purchased the cafe portion of the Cherry Tree Bakery, now named Share Our Grounds, at 6726 Providence St. It’s open from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, and from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
There are typically four adults with disabilities working in the morning and four more in the afternoon. A staffer oversees the production.
“It’s actually been a lot of fun,” said Bryon Schaefer, founder of Aspiring Hands. “Whitehouse has embraced Share Our Grounds as a training center for adults with disabilities to make food from scratch.
“[People] with disabilities making food, it can make people get antsy, but Whitehouse has embraced it.”
Mr. Schaefer said the experience is important as these adults apply for future jobs. He said the organization volunteers at Cherry Street Missions and the Humane Society, but the skills from Share Our Grounds are directly transferable to community employment.
Aspiring Hands will be taking over day-to-day operations for the Whitehouse Community Gardens this year. There are 28 community lots, each 400 square feet.
Barb Knisely, Whitehouse community development coordinator, said the most common items grown are tomatoes, peppers, corn, squash, pumpkins, and sunflowers.
Mr. Schaefer said they have about 10 people already signed up to work in the garden at Sandra Park. Aspiring Hands will be tilling the soil, replacing the mulch, and helping with the weeding and general upkeep of the garden. The nonprofit will also have a few lots to grow vegetables to use at Share Our Grounds and to donate.
In May, the Whitehouse Flower Market will return on Saturday mornings. A new 50-space parking lot at the intersection of Providence Street and the Wabash Cannonball Bike Trail will be the site of the market from 9 a.m. to noon.
Ms. Knisely is looking for more booth rentals at $10 a week. Reach her at 419-877-5383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aspiring Hands is happy that Whitehouse is partnering with the nonprofit.
“We love [involvement] in the community and while we make a difference, we can knock down barriers,” Mr. Schaefer said.
“Whitehouse is embracing our organization and what we’re willing to do. That’s huge.”