OGDEN -- There was a line of folks in need who were at the food bank Wednesday for a handout.
But next to them was a group of people working for a hand up. At the Sow for Humanity garden at the Catholic Community Services Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank, several families weeded and replanted parts of their raised-bed gardens.
"If we grow it in the garden, Mom has more money for his ice cream," said Stacey Rice as she worked alongside a nodding 15-year-old son, Devin White.
Rice also grows two garden plots at the downtown Oasis Community Garden sponsored through this program and by United Way of Northern Utah.
"I don't think a lot of people realize how easy it is to have a garden," she said. "I don't think families realize that they can use government benefits, like food stamps, to purchase these plants."
That comment got the attention of other participants in the program who were working on their plots.
The work-time discussion also included how they would like to have a canning class in the fall, which soon after was approved by food bank director Marcie Valdez. She said she'd support a class for the first 20 individuals who sign up to be taught in September at the food bank.
"I'm just really excited about the response from the clients," Valdez said in an interview. "They seem very enthusiastic about the produce."
The work meeting was just one of several that are part of this year's version of the food bank's Sow for Humanity project.
Last year, volunteers worked to grow fresh produce for those in need. This year, they are providing what eight families need to grow food for themselves.
Rice said she believed she would harvest more produce than what she needed.
"We are going to take things to church to help people out there," she said.
Sponsored by Bank of Utah, J & J Garden Center, Bowman & Kemp and United Way, the project is a favorite to those who back it.
"There's endless opportunities to help, but this one is very special because you can use not only funding but human labor to help," said Scott Parkinson, senior vice president at Bank of Utah. "This is a charity that can help people be more self-sufficient."
Last year's gardens were at the Mount Benedict Monastery in South Ogden but volunteers, including bank employees, moved them to the food bank property this year.
"It shows how local businesses can help," Parkinson said of the project. "It also creates an awareness of the needs of the local community."
Charlene Moore, a participant who worked alongside her 2 1/2-year-old daughter, said she wouldn't have much of a garden if she'd had to rely on what she could grow herself at home.
"For one thing, it grows," she said of her plot that was enriched with fertilizer provided by the sponsors. "My garden at home doesn't seem to grow."
The knowledge of gardening they were gaining also was helpful, participants said. At Wednesday's meeting, the gardeners learned that squash bugs had infested their plants, so they smashed the adult bugs and removed leaves with eggs on them.