FREE (Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc.) announced today that the organization has been named the recipient of a $10,000 grant from TD Bank Foundation. The grant will be used to expand the FREEdom Garden, which provides a work readiness program that gives individuals hands-on agricultural skills that can prepare them for a variety of employment opportunities.
“FREE would like to thank TD Bank Foundation for their support in helping to deliver critical programs and services” said Robert S. Budd, CEO of FREE. “We look forward to having our partners at TD Bank Foundation visit the FREEdom Gardens this fall to see the incredible work being done.”
“Giving back to the communities we serve is critically important to TD, and one way we do that is by partnering with organizations like FREE to open doors for everyone,” said Anthony Esernio, Market President for Suburban New York at TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank. “We are proud to support the incredible work FREE does to prepare people in the New York area for a career in agriculture and improve their financial security.”
Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE), benefits and proudly supports more than 4,000 individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities, mental illness and traumatic brain injury. It is the mission of FREE to help individuals of all abilities realize their full potential.
FREEdom Garden, part of FREE’s Program Without Walls, an alternative to center-based day programs, puts individuals in a greenhouse and out in the garden, located at FREE’s Oakdale and Middle Island locations. Participants plant and care for vegetables, herbs, and flowers, learning the agricultural business along the way.
Produce harvested from the 32 raised garden beds go to a range of sources, including FREE’s food delivery service called FREE-Pod which supplies fresh vegetables to the more than 100 residences for individuals with disabilities.
The TD Bank Foundation grant will help fund the purchase of seed, soil, fertilizer, tropical plant, wheel barrels, rakes, shovels and misc. garden tools, fencing and Adirondack chairs and accessories for the butterfly garden.