By Ken Knight, Goleta Valley Beautiful
Santa Barbara, CA (March 8, 2014) – With the help of a Community Impact Grant, Goleta Valley Beautiful was able to establish a Trees for Veterans Project in Santa Barbara County, California. The initiative focused on getting veterans involved in community service, and benefiting them directly with free trees and supplies for their homes, and on the grounds of facilities serving veterans.
Through the grant, from The Home Depot Foundation, Goleta Valley Beautiful was able to provide veterans with a choice of fruit and shade trees available from the local Home Depot Store, as well as native trees grown by Goleta Valley Beautiful. Options included plum, peach, apple, lemon and orange trees, as well as oak, sycamore, alder and other shade trees.
Veterans and community volunteers delivered the trees and any supplies needed to the homes of the veterans. Using Goleta Valley Beautiful’s expertise with trees, veterans were shown how to plant trees to obtain maximum passive energy efficiency for their homes, and how fruit and nuts from the trees can provide an ongoing healthy food source for veteran’s families.
The Project provided trees to 62 veteran’s homes, and another 40 veterans benefited from trees in public areas providing services to veterans. Veterans need to be able to take care of the tree while it is getting established as well as provide watering as needed.
A strong network of supportive community volunteers provided over 500 community service hours in responding to veteran inquiries, delivering materials and organizing plantings. Most veterans were able to plant their own trees. When needed, other veterans and community volunteers assisted in planting trees on veteran’s or public property.
Learn more about Goleta Valley Beautiful and applying for a 2014 Home Depot Foundation Community Impact Grant.