For some 200 University of La Verne students, including members of the football and track and field teams, Martin Luther King Day wasn’t a holiday for sleeping in and hanging out. It was a day of community service.
Many of the students, and some faculty members as well, wore special T-shirts with this Martin Luther King quote: “Life’s most persistant and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
The students were divided up into groups that worked with six different agencies throughout the East San Gabriel Valley, according ULV Chaplain Zandra Wagoner.
“This is the third year we’ve had a Martin Luther King Community Service Day, and it has grown each year,” Wagoner said. “There were 80 volunteers in 2011 and 110 last year.”
Track coach Pat Widolff, who has been at ULV 21 years, said this year all 80 members of the track and field teams participated in the community service day. “It’s not mandatory, but we encourage everyone to volunteer,” he said.
The volunteer jobs Monday varied. One involved moving a greenhouse from a home in Covina to a hill behind a home in Glendora – no easy feat.
This project was for Sowing Seeds for Life, a regional food bank based in La Verne. It involved 30 students, including 22 from the men’s and women’s track teams.
The 30 students were divided into two groups. One group worked on dismantling the greenhouse and the other eight miles away prepared the area where the greenhouse will be reassembled at a later date. A crane will be needed to get the unassembled greenhouse to the top of the very steep hill.
Vicki Brown of Glendora, the founder and CEO of Sowing Seeds for Life, said it is a hydroponic greenhouse in which vegetables and herb crops are grown without the use of soil.
Sowing Seeds for Life is a fast-growing charitable non-profit organization that feeds some 6,000 needy people per month in the East San Gabriel Valley. Sowing Seeds for Life, or SSFL, provides food, clothes and services to the needy on the first and third Wednesday of every month in the parking lot at DPI Labs at 1350 Arrow Highway in La Verne. Vicki Brown is also the CEO of DPI Labs, an aerospace company that manufactures parts and instruments for the inside of private jets.
The greenhouse comes from an anonymous donor who asked that his name not be used.
In its new location, the greenhouse will be used to grow vegetables and produce to be distributed to the needy, although most of the food comes from donations.
The primary crops grown in a hydroponic greenhouse are such produce as peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, herbs, and strawberries.
This particular hydroponic greenhouse also includes a tilapia fish tank, and tilapia fish are particularly nutritious and healthy for children.