BITHLO, Fla. — A group of college students has some atypical spring break memories in Michigan with them. They spent last week in Bithlo, in east Orange County, with kids who go to school in what's known as Transformation Village.
- Transformation Village in Bithlo gives community food
- People come together to plant fruits, vegetables
Carson Kunnen was one of the spring breakers who came to Orlando, away from the theme parks and tourism.
"Usually when you think of Orlando, you think of Disney, and everything like that," Kunnen said. "And, so I thought, 'I was kinda wondering why we would be going down to Orlando to serve.'"
Kunnen and friends did some intense planting and gardening. Kunnen said he heard about Bithlo through the Grand Valley State University campus ministries program, so he knew it was what he wanted to do for his spring break. While in Bithlo, he met with kids like Benny Keva.
"I planted some fruits, and vegetables, and it was really fun," Keva said.
That's sustenance that, many say, is much needed.
"We should always have food and this would help us with food, and other stuff," Keva added.
The harsh reality in places, like Bithlo, is that some people just don't have the means to have things like sufficient amounts of food. What they planted in a 3,000 square foot garden in Transformation Village will give them healthy food.
"This 'Farm Daddy' system is so incredible that we get about five seasons a year out of the garden because everything grows so fast in these containers," said Timothy McKinney, CEO of United Global Outreach.
The garden growth, McKinney said, will be available to the entire Bithlo community. So, now you know why Carson Kunnen and friends traveled from Michigan for their alternative spring break.
"When a lot of college students will go to Fort Lauderdale or a lot of beaches and stuff, it's really cool to be able to spend my spring break serving a community that needs help, and I'm really, really glad to be a part of it," Kunnen said.
Transformation Village, near 11th Avenue and 7th Street in east Orange County, is considered by some to be a renaissance in the Bithlo area. It includes the development of a mini downtown with a coffee shop, library, hair salon and other places.