Summer Kitchen Added To JARC’s Ability Garden

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By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor

Gardeners at West Boca’s JARC ability garden will now be able to prepare meals with their fresh produce thanks to a donation that added the Rose Zensky Kitchen.

The outdoor kitchen features a grill and side burners, commercial sink, mini fridge and blender in a paved area of the Jeffrey and Nicole Goldberg Ability Garden on the JARC campus.

JARC, Jewish Association for Residential Care, is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization that provides programs and services to educate and empower individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The addition was made possible through a matching grant campaign by Jeffrey and Nicole Goldberg. Another donation was made by Gerry Zensky who has named the space after his late mother, Rose Zensky.

“I found out about JARC a few years ago and I said this is for me,” Zensky said.

He spends time playing bingo with JARC residents on Thursday afternoons.

“It’s been a very rewarding experience,” he said of his time spent with JARC residents. “It’s made me a giving person. I look forward to every Thursday afternoon.”

Some of the 28 regular gardeners and bingo players attended a dedication ceremony recently where the kitchen was unveiled. The garden program has been around since 2007.

JARC residents prepare the soil, plant seeds and care for seasonal plants that they harvest. They spend time sampling their produce and learn about healthy eating habits. Gardeners meet three times a week to tend to their eggplant, cucumbers, spinach, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, mulberry, bananas, mangos, figs, pomegranate and papayas.

Now, they will be able to prepare full farm-to-table meals without leaving the garden.

Zensky helped bring the kitchen garden to pay homage to his mother, Rose who cared for his brother who had special needs.

“My mother was an amazing lady,” he said, holding a photo of her on her wedding day.

He teared up as he shared memories of his childhood in New York.

He said his mother cared for his younger brother until she reached an age where it was  too challenging for her. That is when the mayor of the town they lived in helped her find a private home, similar to JARC, for his brother to move into.

The outdoor kitchen is a reminder of his mother and brother.

“I will come here quite often,” he said.

Zensky’s rabbi dedicated the new area in a brief ceremony.

“Gerry is the kind of person who sees a need and says I’m here,” Rabbi Dan Levin said.