“Paying it Forward” to Help the Hungry

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MEDFORD, Ore. – Avion Maloney looks on as a small group of volunteers digs through his back yard. When the little saplings bear fruit and vegetables, they’ll be hauled away.

“We’re going to give them back to people who need food – veterans, college students, people who are less fortunate,” said Maloney.

The garden is being planted, cared for, and completely paid for by P. Annie’s Secret Garden. The non-profit, only in its first planting season, relies on small back yards like Avion’s.

It’s part of what they call paying it forward.

“Those that are more fortunate, I think it’s really important that we reach out and help those that are less fortunate,” said the organization’s founder, Brooke Sanders.

The idea of lending your land to the cause is Sanders’ brainchild. As a member of a military family, she says it was the best thing she could think of to help veterans who have been left behind.

Right now the organization has two gardens, producing enough food to feed 100-300 people. Everything from the seeds themselves, to the water, to the labor, is being paid for by Sanders’ savings.

Getting more people to lend land, and the money to manage it, will be the next step.

“It is a tall task. This is what this is about, this is a call out to the community to come forth and help us,” said Sanders.

The only direct benefit, aside from the free landscaping, is a small fruit tree left behind. But Maloney, who often comes out to water the garden on his own time, says the cause alone is enough reward.

“It’s really a good feeling when you get to give back to people who are less fortunate.”

The organization is still awaiting their 503(c) status. They also say they’re in talks with multiple land owners in the area to expand their gardens.

For more information on how to help or how to benefit visit the organization’s Facebook page.


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  1. Fred says:

    I am a 100% disabled vet in Grants Pass. How can I get some of this free food??? I did note it was reported it was being done for Vets but went on to say it was also for other needy people. Are you just using the Vet hook like so many just to get free advertising when that is not your intention? Like I said I am a 100% disabled vet and can always use the food.

    1. Justin Bourke says:

      They do give food to anyone in need, but with a focus on veterans. Their owner, Brooke Sanders, is from a military family and originally created this organization with veterans in mind. If you’d like to apply to receive food, you can contact Brooke directly at 541-601-3991.

    2. Judy says:

      hello, my name is Judy and I am on the Board of Directors for P. Annie’s Secret Garden. I am in charge of coordinating volunteers and getting the database together for the recipients. Please send me an email at omnijudy25@yahoo.com and I will make sure you are included. We need your name, address, and contact information. We are expecting to be harvesting in the fall if not sooner and will be glad to help.

  2. Brooke Sanders says:

    Good morning Fred,

    Thank you for asking a very valid question. We are 100% dedicated to ALL our most vulnerable in society. Our Veterans are at the top of our list. We are a family of Veterans. We are here to help. Please give us a call. I have available to us this week FREE greens, we even will deliver them to you. I look forward to hearing from you, thank you for your Service, you are held in high honor in our organization.

    Brooke Sanders
    P. Annie’s Secret Garden

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