Jul 3rd, 2014

CarMax: Giving Back in the Community

by Jonah Holland , PR and Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden 

During June, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden was the fortunate recipient of 258 hours of volunteer service donated by 86 Richmond area CarMax Associates. They tackled nine Volunteer Team-Builders  projects here, making the Garden eligible for an additional $9,000 donation.  The CarMax Foundation had a record-breaking volunteer blitz in June, completing more than 250 projects nationally. Here at the Garden,  CarMax associates, mulched, weeded, and planted all around the Garden, including the front berm of the Garden and in the Children’s Garden.

In the Children’s Garden alone, CarMax had 56 volunteers who worked  working a total of 168 hours on four different days!

CarMax volunteers on June 6th, 2014 in the Children's Garden.

CarMax associates volunteered in the Children’s Garden on June 5, 6, 13 and 17th. Here’s the June 6th team.

children's garden vols  june 13

A few of the CarMax volunteers who worked in the Children’s Garden on June 13th.

Children’s Garden horticulturist Heather Veneziano reports that CarMax associates weeded and mulched, assembled bags that we hand out to schools,  divided plants, stained benches and wrapped safety foam on structures, and then weeded  some more!  Another team worked near the front berm of the Garden, removing invasive species from in between established plants. Horticulturist Seth Roadman, who worked with the group, said the team removed mostly grapevine, honeysuckle, thistle, and wire grass.  He remarked that the group showed great energy and seemed to enjoy being out in the garden.

CarMax associates and eggplant

The CarMax team planting and mulching eggplant.

CarMax Associates with cucumber trellis

CarMax associates made quick work on a cucumber trellis. The trellis will allow the cucumbers to have more room to grow in a small space.

…And then they started work in the Community Kitchen Garden.  On their first visit in June, the CarMax team mulched pathways, planted eggplant, built a support structure for fava beans, and accomplished a huge amount of weeding. A few weeks later, a new team arrived to  harvest 160 lbs. of red potatoes, harvested sweet peppers and Swiss chard, they tossed a mountain of weeds into the compost pile, completed a trellis for cucumbers, weeded a bed of  fava beans, and mulched beds of eggplant. If you’ve ever wondered how many people 160 lbs. of new potatoes can feed, that is enough potatoes for Feedmore’s Community Kitchen to provide 400 servings of mashed potatoes or 800 servings of potato salad to Meals on Wheels recipients!

Harvesting new red potatoes with Carmax.

Pulling the new red potatoes out of the ground to dry in the sun, before delivery to Feedmore’s Community Kitchen. On this day, the team delivered 192 lbs. of fresh vegetables to FeedMore (red potatoes: 162 lbs, Swiss chard: 22 lbs, red okra: 1 lb, sweet peppers: 7lbs).

harvesting new potatoes at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

CarMax June volunteer blitz showed lots of great teamwork.

carmax before and after

CarMax associates before (left) and after (right) a very productive day in Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Community Kitchen Garden growing food for Feedmore Inc.

Brittany & Chastity carrying a basket of new potatoes.

Carrying the bounty of new potatoes to be loaded onto the truck to be delivered to Feedmore.

We love that CarMax is such a positive influence in the Richmond community,  and we are honored that they’ve partnered with Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. On July 4th join us for CarMax Free Fourth of July! On Friday, July 4, 2014, all visitors to the Garden will receive free admission throughout the day (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) The free admission includes entrance to the popular Butterflies LIVE! exhibit.


Jonah Holland is Digital Content Manager at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, where she has worked for 14 years overseeing social media, the blog, and the website. She is also a mom, yogi, open water swimmer, gardener, and seeker. She's been known to go for a walk in the Garden and come back with hundreds of plant photos, completely inspired to write her next blog post.

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