Community gardens increase a sense of community ownership and stewardship. They may also tend to foster spirit. On Saturday, there was a special feeling at the new Hillcrest Garden in the heart of Wilmington, in memory of William McDuffie whose spirit was lifted by friends and volunteers. "We loved him so much. We were like born with him. He was nice and he did everything for us, and when we heard he died we cried,” said Hillcrest resident Infinity Rogers. Mr. McDuffie died 2-and-a-half months ago due to kidney failure. He touched everyone in the Hillcrest development in a positive way. He was a dedicated worker, and thanks to a great team effort Hillcrest now has a community garden named in memory of the longtime Hillcrest president. "It’s a great day to be volunteering in a garden. I'm actually out here for two purposes. I'm here on behalf of the Wilmington Housing Authority and the rotary and we're out here to make sure this garden flourishes in the memory of Mr. McDuffie,” said Wilmington Housing Authority Chairman Bo Dean. A garden often brings people together. UNC Wilmington public sociology students even got down and dirty. They've been planning this for two months... "The kids are excited. They've been taking nutrition classes, learning about soil, recycling, composting, what we're growing. It's a really good experience for them as they learn to grow their own food,” said UNCW community campus coordinator Danielle Aldrich. This garden is another byproduct of what the Wilmington Housing Authority has done with the community campus at Hillcrest. What would Mr. McDuffie think of the work in the garden? "A job well done. I think that's what he would say. We had a dream and it's real. It's alive. It's coming alive and that's a blessing," said Sheila Powell, a Hillcrest resident. Gardens tend to heighten people's awareness for living things, and in this case a garden adds an appreciation for William McDuffie as well. The hillcrest garden has strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and carrots. Everything but salad dressing.
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