Three-year-old Willa Chmura loved to pick tomatoes this summer especially when she got to eat them. However, her mother, Christi Chmura, was sure that enough vegetables were collected to not only to feed the family, but to feed some of Southington’s neediest residents.

Twice each week, mother and daughter would take bags overflowing with the bountiful harvest to the Bread for Life kitchen, located in the Masonic Lodge at 76 Main St. Clients who came for the weekday noon meal were welcome to take a variety of fresh produce, which was a treat for many. They sometimes referred to the donors as “The Garden Girls” or “The Garden Ladies.”

“The sharing of the fruits of their labor from their growing garden was very much appreciated by our clients,” said Eldon Hafford, Bread for Life executive director.

Christi Chmura said her husband, Bill Chmura, volunteered with Bread for Life several years ago thus they were familiar with the food program. This summer, after planting a huge garden, they knew they wanted to share their agricultural wealth. In three beds measuring 4 feet wide and 50 feet long in their backyard, they planted more than 75 tomato plants, cucumbers, eggplant, green peppers, carrots and beans and other vegetables. The produce was grown organically without pesticides.

“Our family was so glad that we could do it. It was very rewarding feeling like we were doing it for a good cause,” Christi Chmura said. “It was also a good teaching tool for our kids,” she said referring to Willa, David, 6, and Haley, 15. The home project became a family cause and everyone pitched in knowing that it was for a good cause.

“They helped so much in feeding the hungry here in Southington,” Hafford said. “And we are happy that they plan to continue sharing next year’s harvest with us as well.”

For more information about Bread for Life, visit the website .


Photo courtesy of Bread for Life
Eldon Hafford, Bread for Life executive director, left, chats with Christi Chmura, right, and her daughter, 3-year-old Willa Chmura, about their garden.