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A Winning Combination: The Community Care Garden, Colton Gabel, and Mill Creek Garden Club

Enter Colton Gabel, currently a junior at Jackson High School, and his supportive parents Christy and Preston. Christy wanted to help in our community where so many are experiencing economic stress due to Covid, so she signed up to volunteer at the Food Bank and Colton joined her. 
A smiling Colton working safely to build the planter boxes. Photo courtesy of Mill Creek Garden Club.

By Lila Johnson, Mill Creek Garden Club Publicity Chair, September 22, 2020.

It was a chance coming together: Mill Creek Garden Club, a need for more vegetable planters at the Community Care Garden and a young man willing to build them. (The Community Care Garden is operated by the Hope Creek Charitable Foundation, located near the Gold Creek Community Church on 148th Street SE, Mill Creek.)

Enter Colton Gabel, currently a junior at Jackson High School, and his supportive parents Christy and Preston. Christy wanted to help in our community where so many are experiencing economic stress due to Covid, so she signed up to volunteer at the Food Bank and Colton joined her.  

But he aspired to help in a more lasting way. This is where Jennifer Boyington, Director of Hope Creek Charitable Foundation stepped in, telling them HPCF would apply for a grant to build the much-needed planters if “someone” was willing to build them.

As luck would have it, Colton’s Dad is a woodworker. In mid August 2020, with his Dad’s guidance, Colton measured the existing planters (“Measure Twice, Cut Once” right!) and took notes on their design. He researched the prices, presented a budgeted materials list to Jennifer who submitted a grant request to Mill Creek Garden Club and it was approved!  

This was a natural for Garden Club; the new planters would expand the growing space at the Garden where most of the fruits and vegetables grown are given to families through the Mill Creek Community Food Bank.

All was not smooth sailing, however; Colton and his Dad discovered there were severe shortages of pressure-treated lumber and many types of cedar lumber too. So, they adapted. They modified the design to accommodate materials that were available, but always chose solutions that would resist rot and perform best in our sometimes-soggy Northwest climate.  

Father and son worked together to construct the planters. If asked, Colton would say he enjoyed working with his Dad, he learned a lot about woodworking and is proud of his work.  

Once the vegetable planters were complete, friends kindly lent their truck and the garden planters were strapped on top and delivered to the Community Care Garden.  

It was indeed a winning effort; Garden Club had the least challenging part in this project, but we are so proud of Colton and his family for giving of their time and sharing their expertise. That is what a great community is about, helping one another!

Once the vegetable planters were complete, friends kindly lent their truck and the garden planters were strapped on top and delivered to the Community Care Garden.

One of the planters loaded and ready for delivery to the Community Care Garden. Photo courtesy of Mill Creek Garden Club.

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