Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotels’ HERO volunteers planted a garden at Kituwah Fields on Friday, April 27.
Volunteers from various departments at Harrah’s Cherokee participated in the planting along with A.C. and Susie Honeycutt from Fields of Hope in Asheville and Cindy Threlkeld, Executive Director of Manna Food Bank. Kevin Welch and Sarah McClellan Welch from the Cherokee Cooperative Extension Office were on hand and have been advisors for the program to ensure the success of the garden.
HERO, (Harrah’s Employees Reaching Out), gives employees the opportunity to volunteer in the communities where they live and work. In 2011, HERO’s participants volunteered more than 6,500 hours with local events, organizations and communities in western North Carolina.
The community Garden project is designed to gather volunteers to work “hands on” growing food in order to help with hunger issues in local areas. This year, volunteers will focus on growing white and sweet potatoes, corn and pumpkins. When harvested, 50 percent of the potatoes will be donated to Manna Food Bank and 50 percent will stay in Cherokee for local organizations and employees of Harrah’s Cherokee Casino.
The corn will be donated to local Cherokee artists who utilize the “corn beads” to make jewelry and other decorations. The pumpkin patch, which is often planted at the edges of the corn, will serve as a natural floating mulch that holds down weeds and keeps the soil moist. The pumpkins that are produced will be used for fall decorations as needed for the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino property.