By Alisha Thompson
IBC (Immanuel Baptist Church) is sowing seeds in the community with both literally and figuratively with two big projects this spring, a community garden and a daycare.
IBC Pastor Johnny Tohnika said that the ground is tilled and ready to be planted just outside their church on 902 E. Ellis. “This is not the church’s garden, it’s open to the community,” said Tohnika. “We invite groups, individuals, businesses, whoever to come and love on the garden. Invest in it. This food will go on lunch and dinner plates.”
Tohnika said that he sees this garden as a positive for Davis.
“It will be food for some or a reason to get out of the house for others. If you want to claim a section, call us. If you want to water the garden, come and do it. If you can’t water the garden, we will do it for you,” explained Tohnika. “It will be nice to see people take ownership of this garden. They don’t have to check in with us when they come. We just want to do stuff that makes sense and opening this garden to Davis makes sense.”
When the garden starts to produce, anyone can take vegetables from the garden, day or night. Soon, Tohnika said that there will be a food box up for people in need. Just like the garden, the food in the food box is open to anyone in need.
There is space for the garden to grow and with enough interest, Tohnika said he will have someone come and get that space ready as soon as it’s needed.
Admittedly not a garnder, Tohnika said he’s open to ideas for the garden. He said if the garden is a hit, it will be open again next year. “We are looking for ways to meet the needs of the community.”
Speaking of meeting needs . . . .
IBC has been approved as a daycare. The daycare opened last week and is under the direction of Lisa Smith, formerly of Wolf Pups Daycare. There is already a waiting list.
Tohnika said the daycare is something he’s wanted to do for eight years. “We originally wanted to be daycare for foster families, but we can’t just care for foster kids,” he said. “We then started looking at grandparents taking care of their grandchildren. I just knew there wasn’t a place to take kids.”
Twelve kids fill the church daily with action and laughter. The church has the capacity to have more kids but Tohnika said that will happen as they make the needed renovations.
When Smith opens her daycare full time in a new location, she will continue to work with the church to continue to provide before and after school care at the church.
The church has found another way to use the space God gave them with employees from the Department of Human are available on Tuesday to help people with DHS benefits, food stamps, Medicaid, social programs, online job applications and more.
Tohnika couldn’t help but smile talking about how busy IBC is these days. “We want everyone to know that there is nobody at IBC with clean hands,” he said. “Everyone is welcome. We are all figuring this out together.”
For more information on any of the projects or services provided by IBC call the church and leave a voicemail at (580) 369-3331 or Tohnika’s cell at (580)230-1443.
By Alisha Thompson