The heavy downpours on Saturday morning, May 20th, did not prevent scores of Canarsie residents from attending the annual plant, flower and herb giveaway held by the Canarsie Community Development Incorporated (CCDI), a local non-profit.
The event took place at 9299 Schenck Street, a spot that was once used for illegal dumping but has since been cleaned up, largely due to the efforts of CCDI, whose mission is, in part, to form block associations, thereby building stronger and cleaner communities.
The group’s Executive Director, Harold Jones, told the Canarsie Courier that their beautification efforts have resulted in a significant reduction in dumping in the community. Jones, a retired engineer, expressed his plan to rehabilitate the existing structures on the lot as well as “clean up” an adjacent lot and utilize it to educate others about the importance of plants to the environment.
President of Fresh Creek Civic Association Maria Garrett, who is also a CCDI Board member, explained that the purpose of the plants and flowers was not just to beautify the community, but also to ensure that “the water has somewhere to go instead of into the sewer and, hopefully, stop the kind of flooding that the area experienced during Superstorm Sandy.”
The giveaway was sponsored by Councilwoman Mercedes Narcisse, who applauded CCDI’s efforts. “I’m here to support. Let us just do it together,” she told the gathering.
Other support was provided by The Canarsie Neighborhood Farm and Community Garden. “We are a NYC Green Thumb Community Garden,” stated co-founder Floyd Jarvis. “This is our sixth year of growing and the fourth year we have teamed up with CCDI to provide free plants, shrubs and herbs to the community.”
One hundred and sixty-three residents who are already part of a block association were the main recipients of the giveaway.