Written by John White
James Sandbichler is a fourth grader at Trinity Elementary School in East Northport. James and his family live in Hauppauge and are active in the community. Last summer, prompted by seeing people in need of food, James decided to start a vegetable garden and donate the produce to the local food pantry at St. Thomas More.
Q: What made you want to take on this project James?
JS: I was driving around with my mom one day and I saw that a local restaurant has set up a donation table to give out food to people who needed it. My mom explained that because of COVID many people had lost their jobs and were having trouble making ends meet. I wanted to help them out. She suggested that maybe I could grow vegetables and give them to our church’s food pantry.
Q: How did you get started?
JS: My family helped me set aside an area next to our house where I could grow tomatoes and cucumbers and things. Our neighbors across the street gave me a really nice calendar that gave me directions on when to plant seeds and plants and how to care for them during the growing season. We would pick the vegetables and deliver them every week.
Q: What made you most proud about this project?
JS: I think it was when everyone told me how good it was that I was doing this, and that I was really helping out people who needed help. I’m going to do it again.
Q: Tell us about doing it again.
JS: Well, my aunt gave me a growing rack where I was able to start many more plants as seedlings. I have tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, peas, pumpkins, and lots more. I’m even growing some flowers to plant in the garden. We made the garden area even bigger for this year. I have to water the plants correctly and make sure they get sunlight and move them if it gets too cold outside. I hope to give even more vegetables away this year.
Q: What do people say to you when they find out what you’re doing?
JS: They tell me it’s a good thing and that they are proud of me.
Our interviewer, John White, is a long time Hauppauge resident who recently retired from a rewarding career as a pharmacist, clinician, and pharmaceutical industry consultant. In addition to his work with the Hauppauge Public Library, John volunteers his time with St. Thomas More’s youth ministry and the Boy Scouts of America. In his spare time, John is an avid reader, an active runner, and loves to travel.
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