You are the owner of this article.

'Heroes' build a garden at Dennis Township Elementary School

DENNISVILLE – A team of volunteers showed up at Dennis Township Elementary School last week to design and build an outdoor garden that would give children an opportunity to find out more about where their food comes from, and how it’s grown.

The 20 volunteers, known as Lowe’s Heroes spent a week rebuilding a section of the school’s courtyard adding paver stones, fruit and vegetable boxes, benches, creating flower beds and building a shed.

“Every year, every single Lowe’s around the country does something good for the community,” said Varvara Keun, a Lowe’s representative. “It feels good to help, and that’s what we’re all about.”

For the employees at Lowes of Cape May in Rio Grande, the yearly project is chance to reach out into their own communities to help non-profit organizations and schools.

“We have stores in the community, and we want to give back to the people,” Keun said. “It’s good to help people and the community, and we always want to help the kids.”

She’s a human resources manager at the company, but Keun also functions as the volunteer group’s forewoman, and last week she worked alongside Christine Nelson, Lower Township, and Barbara Jean Martinelli, Whitesboro, to paint concrete blocks and wooden posts that would later be used to make flower beds.

“It’s fun,” Martinelli said. “It’s good to help the schools.”

Keun said that employees at Lowe’s in Rio Grande aren’t limited to the annual companywide Heroes week in their community outreach.

“If there are any non profits or schools in the community that need help with a project, tell them to reach straight out to me,” Keun said. “There are volunteers at the store that may be able to help.”

Keun can be reached at 609-463-5760.

“We want to put in hours to help them in a physical way,” Keun said.

Three years ago, Keun and Rio Grande Lowe’s group landscaped the area at the Dennis Township Senior Center. Two years ago, they lent a hand at a Habitat for Humanity home in Whitesboro, spending six days on the house, and $2,500 donated by Lowe’s for the home’s construction.

In 2016, the team from Lowe's spent a week chiseling away and replacing cracked and broken base tile at Middle Township Middle School, as well as repainting classrooms, and repairing fixtures in bathrooms.

Last week’s work at Dennis Township Elementary School was worth about $2,500 and will give kids everything they need to get ready for a season of growing, Keun said.

“Kids will see how to grown their own vegetables and flowers, and lead a more sustainable life,” Keun said.

“Along with building the garden, we donated a box of seeds, and we’re giving them all they need – seeds, soil and pots – to give the children a chance to get their hands dirty and learn about nature.”

Volunteers for the project included: Barbara Jean Martinelli, Joe Valeno, Varvara Keun, Jim May, Bill Stowe, Walter Niwinski, Kus Kuswendra, Bryan Lowe, Christine Nelson, Don Oral, Dan Hawkins, Steve Bolton, Kim Pelham, and Steve Lawrence.

Load comments



Submit all material to


  • Include the complete name of the group, school or other organization; where it’s located and what area it serves; the name and title, if applicable, of the person submitting the information; a person to contact with questions and whether the contact is only for us or for the public as well.
  • Information should be formatted as little as possible, without tabs or tables.
  • Photos should be high-resolution and emailed as an attachment. Include the names of the people in the photos and, if applicable, any relevant titles or relationships. Indicate how to determine who is who, such as “front row, from left.”


  • Take a picture when you travel of you or your group with one of our weeklies. Send us the picture with names, hometowns and the name of the place you visited.


  • Letters must be fewer than 400 words and received by 9 a.m. Monday for publication the same week.


  • Information to be included in event or trip listings must be submitted online at Scroll down to where it says “Submit an event.” Click on “Go to Form.”
  • You are required to sign in using a username and password. If you have previously made an account, log in using the username and password you created. If you have NOT previously made an account with us, click on “Register Here” (under the Sign In button).
  • Once you have created a username and password, you will be taken to the calendar form. Fill out the form with the relevant information. Please remember that less is best for calendar listings. Note: If you include a website, it must be the full address. For example,, not

Most Popular