Anchorage church garden has been donating its harvest to food pantry for five years

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) For the past five years, the garden in the back of the Lutheran Church of Hope in Anchorage has been donating its harvest to feed the hungry.

The seed of an idea to start a garden came after Don Bladow, an active member of the church attended a conference on food insecurity in Alaska.

“I was inspired to start the garden,” he said. “I went to the church council and they said, we think you're crazy, but you can go ahead and do it.”

And the garden has been going strong since. This year, Don, along with other volunteers, harvested over 4,000 pounds of produce from the garden.

“To be honest, I wasn’t so passionate when it started out,” said his wife, Bonnie Bladow. “It’s a lot of work... But I’m really proud of what he’s accomplished.”

When asked to describe her husband Don, determined, compassionate and caring were all adjectives she used.

But she said his number one quality was his faith.

“He has a lot of it,” she said.

Don Bladow’s faith in his garden has never wavered. But there was a time where his faith in God did.

"I was 17, a senior in high school and my mother died,” he said. “And I was angry at God for taking her away from me. It's still even difficult to think about."

But life had a way of nourishing his faith back. His marriage, the birth of his children, and a church full of support helped him restore what he once lost.

The clients of the Lutheran Social Services food pantry are thankful that his faith led him to that garden.

And Don is thankful that he was led back to his faith.

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