The Forest Park Community Garden received a $2,000 grant from Comcast last week, as part of Comcast Cares Day, which garden volunteers participated in last April.

Back in April, a number of Comcast representatives, volunteers from the public and community garden staffers helped expand the garden, on Harlem Avenue near I-290.

“We basically doubled our space,” said Jessica Rinks, president of the Community Garden. “We had 30 garden beds. Then that day we built an additional 20 garden beds.” 

“We also added an area on the southern end of the garden where we plant vegetables,” she added.

A fence was also put up.

Comcast Cares Day is a nationwide initiative by the cable company aimed at sparking community service. Basically, nonprofits submit an application to the company, seeking assistance on any given project; if Comcast agrees to lend a hand, it also asks that members of the community come out and volunteer, too.

In addition, Comcast awards grants to participating organizations – something Rinks wasn’t aware of until recently.

“It was kind of a surprise,” she said. “We didn’t know … that Comcast was going to give us the grant.”

That’s because the money is not really the point of the program, according to Angelynne Amores, director of communications for Comcast’s Greater Chicago Region.

“The activities take place on that one day, but the spirit of volunteerism continues [through the grant],” she said.

Rinks said the Community Garden intends to use at least half of the money to purchase a new swing, which will sit outside the park’s gates. During the expansion, a fence was put up around a swing in the garden, thus restricting its use by those using the grounds.

“We’re happy that we can get it back,” she said.    

-Nick Moroni