This growing season, local Plano gardener Josephine Howser grew several oversized gourds. When she found herself with over 80 pounds of fresh produce, Howser decided to make a donation to the Samaritan Inn.

The Samaritan Inn has been providing holistic solutions to homelessness in Collin County since 1984. In 2020, the Samaritan Inn served 553 residents with programs that focus on supporting single residents and families that are experiencing homelessness.

The unique donation from Howser was reported earlier this month by the Plano Star Courier.

Howser grew the gourds at the Plano Community Harvest Garden where she is also a harvest coordinator. She said she used seeds called Tahitian squash and allowed the gourds to grow for two full seasons before harvesting.

The Plano Community Harvest Garden was launched in 2008 through a partnership between the Junior League of Collin County, the city of Plano’s Sustainability and Environmental Education Division, and volunteer gardeners from around the Plano area.

Today, the community garden consists of 50 raised beds that produce more than 5,000 pounds of fresh organic produce. The community garden is run by the Community Unitarian Universalist Church, located at 2875 East Parker Road.

Every year, the Plano Community Harvest Garden offers new spots to local residents. Residents can join for a membership fee of $40 and the promise that they will donate half of their harvest.

To become a community gardener, residents must also promise to:

  • Care for and cultivate a raised bed during all four seasons of the year
  • Devote three-to-five hours a week on average to care for the bed
  • Gather produce weekly in time for the food pantry delivery
  • Report volunteer time and harvest poundage weekly
  • Volunteer at the monthly PCG workdays year-round
  • Attend the PCG meetings

The volunteer gardeners typically donate to God’s Pantry, a faith-based nonprofit food pantry. Howser decided to make her donation to the Samaritan Inn to allow it to reach more people.

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