As gardening season approaches, New Opportunities is expanding volunteer outreach for the local garden thanks to Hy-Vee’s $1,000 grant. In celebration of the recent grant earnings, a free Container Gardening class was offered to the public on Saturday, May 20 at 1 p.m.

The class was taught by TV garden personality, Jerry Kluver, of the Urbandale Hy-Vee.

“He did a really nice program,” Larry Vodenik, Hy-Vee Event Coordinator said.

The class was hands-on and was taught in both English and Spanish to attendees.

“We had everything there: the containers, the organic soil, plants, and they’re going to be producing something really fast,” Vodenik said. “The people that walked out the other day walked out with a container that had everything they needed to get started.”

Earlier this year, New Opportunities wrote the grant in order to bring new classes and potential gardening tools towards the local community garden.

Funds from the grant come from Hy-Vee’s One-Step program, specifically developing funds through the One Step potatoes produce, Vodenik says.

The local garden is organic and produce grown is later given directly back to the Perry Area Food Pantry.

“When we say we’re looking for volunteers, we’re looking for maybe two hours a month,” Vodenik said.

Managed by New Opportunities Dallas County Development Center, the garden is located behind the Crossroads Church of Perry at 2814 First Avenue.

Vodenik assists in watering the vegetation, and a variety of jobs are open. All volunteers - green thumb or not - are invited to take part in assisting with the local garden.

Those interested in volunteering can do so through the Family Development Center at 515-465-5185.