Senior Lindsey Stork planted a tree at Unity Gardens as part of Bethel College’s Service Day.

On Oct. 1, Bethel students, faculty and staff stepped out of the classroom to serve in the real world as part of the college’s annual Service Day. At Unity Gardens in South Bend, students spent the morning covering weeds, turning compost and planting trees, bulbs and potatoes.

Like many nonprofits, Unity Gardens depends on volunteers to keep the organization up and running.

“There is no way we could have grown to this point without these students,” says Sara Stewart (’09), Bethel graduate and founder of Unity Gardens.

Unity Gardens is a nonprofit organization made up of 57 different gardens across the Michiana area, focused on community and generosity. The gardens consist of a variety of different fruits and vegetables. Members of the surrounding community are not only welcome to plant and contribute to the vegetation, but they are also encouraged to pick from the plethora of produce.

“The gardens provide food for those in need and bring diverse people together to grow, harvest, share, and eat healthy food,” says Stewart.

Unity Gardens is just one of many community-focused organizations that Bethel students, faculty, and staff served. In one day, the Bethel community donated nearly 3,500 hours of service to organizations such as Feed the Children, Habitat for Humanity, Pet Refuge, Potawatomi Zoo, Ronald McDonald House Charities, local churches and nursing homes, YMCA of Michiana, St. Joseph County Parks, Unity Gardens, the CASIE Center and many more.

Senior and American Sign Language and Deaf studies major Lindsey Stork (’14) enjoyed her time serving. After weeding, plowing, and planting in the various fields of Unity Gardens, Stork proudly admired her contribution to the community: an apple sapling.

Years from now, Stork will come back to that tree and recall a time when classes were cancelled and the entire campus dedicated the day to serving the community.

Along with planting blueberry bushes, flowers and

plants, for the 65thyear, Bethel has taken the time to plant kindness in the community. Now that has lasting impact.

Freshman Chelsey Wakes enjoys spending the day outside gardening on her first service day as a Bethel College Student.

A student crouches in the Pollination Project section, planting bulbs for the perennial produce that will last through the winter.