Growing and Giving

May 10, 2018

Growth is an important theme at Galilee. Our Sundays revolve around the Grow Hour between 9 and 11am worship. This is time we use to explore God’s word in small groups and reflect on what that word means in our own journey toward maturity in faith.

But the idea of “growth” just got more literal with the advent of the Galilee Gift Garden, a shared ministry of our church and Galilee members Jane and Vini Short, who run a nonprofit dedicated to providing fresh, organic produce to food banks, shelters, and needy communities. 

Galilee members Vini and Jane Short run a local nonprofit.

“Growth” makes sense, because a seed was planted in the Shorts’ lives years ago. Vini, an orphan who was adopted at age six, knows the value of nurturing those in need. When he was 18, he had a life-changing experience of Christ and became a Messianic Jew, that is a Jewish follower of Jesus. Like Jesus, Vini even worked as a carpenter while traveling around the land preaching, teaching, and serving others. He met Jane, a Christian, and the two married in 2002.

Jane’s parents, Dr. Robert and Evelyn DeShong, raised her to be unselfish. When the DeShongs passed away, they left a small inheritance which Jane and Vini are putting to use through their nonprofit, established in 2009. DeShong’s Gift Back primarily grows food, but also helps repair homes for those in need and provides assistance with bills and groceries. “We try to find homes for the homeless and more,” explain Vini and Jane. “We believe in helping others as funding allows.”

The two have built gardens in several locations in the area, and also work as real estate agents. They have five children and six grandchildren.

Pastor Jason helps the Shorts plant seeds in the Galilee Gift Garden.

In April, the Shorts and several volunteers installed garden beds at the back of Galilee’s parking lot. Pastor Jason was out there himself to sow some of the first seeds: swiss chard, peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes and more. About 150 plants are planned, which Vini says will feed 85 families over 25 weeks.

“Our garden provides fresh vegetables to local food pantries who don’t receive them from anywhere else,” say the Shorts. “We believe that all people deserve fresh nutritious food.” 

Volunteers from Keller -Williams (Judy Smith’s team) at work in the Gift Garden on May 10.

Jane and Vini make it a point to involve churches in this work because, they say, “It serves the mission of the church by feeding His sheep, as Jesus commanded. It brings purpose, fellowship, and fulfillment of the will of God.”

Vini says, “We do this because God put it on our hearts to feed hope into people’s lives. And we don’t do it alone, thanks to our partners at Galilee.”

The Gift Garden will need volunteers throughout the growing season.

Do you feel a growing desire to help? The Galilee Gift Garden will require weeding, pruning, and harvesting as the season progresses. If you want in, email Jane and Vini at DeShongsGiftBack@gmail.com or send a text to 703-314-9296 with your name and contact information.

If you haven’t got a green thumb, think about helping the mission with a donation to the Short’s nonprofit. Information is available at their website and can also be made online through Galilee; just note that the money is for the Galilee Gift Garden.

We invite you to take a look at the Galilee Gift Garden any time. It’s located just beyond Galilee’s west parking lot, right out the doors of the original wing of the church.