Petaluma salvage yard brings back Victory Gardens to help those in need

PETALUMA, Calif. -- The Petaluma People Service Center is an organization that offers 59 human services to the Petaluma community with the sole purpose of helping to make people's lives better.

"When the pandemic broke out, we had to increase the numbers and we had to increase fast; in fact, it was almost tenfold how many people we had to serve instantly," executive director Elece Hempel revealed.

When Heritage Salvage founder and owner Michael Bug Deakin found out Petaluma People Services Center's Meals on Wheels program needed help, he wanted to figure out how to raise the additional dollars needed in order to continue to feed seniors and make sure families have access to food.

Deakin had an idea that hearkened back to the days of Victory Gardens. "People will pay $75 for a garden bed. People will give the money directly to Petaluma People Service Center, so we'll fund Meals on Wheels for a while," Deakin explained.

Local business partners like Freidman's Hardware stepped up to assist as well.

"We heard that there was going to be Victory Gardens and whatever they need, we were able to do. We donated a few hundred bags of soil to help accommodate our brothers in need," Friedman's assistant manager, Gary McKinnon, said.

For a $75 donation, people received a garden box, soil, gopher wire, starter plants, seeds and an autographed program poster.

"It's my great desire that, after COVID, we'll see all these people picking the fruit of the future of food," Deakin said with a smile.

Although the garden boxes sold out almost instantly, Deakin continues to build some for low-income families in need.

Poster artist Katie Kincade revealed, "It's amazing to be a part of this, to see everyone coming together. It blows my mind."