Perry Shores Apartments is a transitional home owned and operated by Samaritan House, the largest domestic violence shelter in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The recognition comes as part of the Hampton Roads Sustainable Living Expo, hosted by the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
Perry Shores Community Garden sprouted in spring of 2011, under the direction of Perry Shores and Samaritan House property manager, Carol Heischober, who studied horticulture in college. The advent of the garden was a labor of love for Carol in memory of her daughter Erin Heischober, who loved the smell of flowers and passed away from cancer in 2008 at the age of 29.
Residents of Perry Shores are low-income tenants and families in transition from emergency shelter. All were invited to participate in the cultivation of the garden and a community blossomed. An unused plot behind the complex provided the perfect location in size and relation to the sun. Contractors donated their time to remove an old playground and help tender the 22x24 foot section of land.
Residents learned soil-blocking techniques and became avid readers of gardening books. With a memorial donation of flowers, plant and vegetables, the first crop was underway. Their first harvest was so abundant they donated a lot of it to a church that feeds the homeless.
Seven residents, known as the Perry Shores Gardeners, stepped up to take on the project and formed a co-op. Residents participate in gardening from purchasing seeds to watering the crop.
The Stewardship Awards were designed to recognize those who show leadership and initiative in healthier outdoor living.
The Perry Shores Community Garden features flowers, vegetables, fruits and herbs as well as a garden bench built by volunteers from the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman. Erin Heischober’s favorite flowers surround the perimeter of the garden. Her memory blooms by the gardeners who plant life every day.
For more information about Samaritan House visit SamaritanHouseVA.org. To see the Perry Shores Community Garden, visit Perry Shores Apartments at 18th Street, Virginia Beach.