My name is Tara Egan and this is my first semester as a Center for Civic Engagement Fellow. For the past few weeks, the fellowship has given me the opportunity to work with community partners outside of Hofstra.
Homecoming Farm is one of the nonprofit organizations I’ve been fortunate enough to work with. The farm is located in Amityville and is run by the Dominican Sisters and a really sweet woman named Elizabeth, whom I think is their secretary/behind the scenes superhero (she does so much for the farm and she is always smiling.)
The farm is a certified organic Community Supported Agriculture project. This means, members of the farm pay a fee to get a portion of the organic crop each season. Although, Homecoming Farm is recognized by some, they are always looking for ways to expand in the community and as a farm. In the past year the nonprofit has received a large donation from Father Marty Hall to add 17 acres of land to the farm. They are currently in the process of preparing the new land to plant crops. This new land will allow the farm to invite more families to be members and it will provide more food for soup kitchen donations.
Father Marty Hall has helped the farm out many times when it was “on the edge,” as Elizabeth would say. He’s been so generous to Homecoming farm they decided to make him their annual fundraiser honoree.
Every Autumn, Homecoming Farm puts on a Homecoming Harvest Fundraiser. It includes, dinner, music, dancing, an honoree, raffles, and prizes. This year I volunteered to help out with a few other fellows. I helped sell raffles and even got a sheet of my own to pick and choose which prizes I could potentially win. We got free dinner and afterwards helped hand out prizes and fold the tablecloths. Overall, seeing the look on Elizabeth’s face when the event was successfully through and she was waving goodbye to everyone that participated was the best part. When everything was cleaned up and free soaps, flowers, and leftovers were distributed up among volunteers I drove back to campus feeling untroubled. I’m glad there are places like Homecoming Farm and people like Father Marty Hall that are in it solely to help the community. I’m grateful the Center for Civic Engagement has connected me to community partners that are looking to make positive and sustainable changes in the world we live in.