HomeFront dedicated a new healing and memorial garden on July 30 at the Family Campus of the Family Preservation Center in Ewing. The garden will be a space for meditation and reflection that also commemorates the death of HomeFront family members.
“The garden is a natural extension of our Family Campus. Both are places to help families rebuild their spirits after dealing with the pain and trauma of homelessness,” said Sheila Addison, director of the Family Campus.
The centerpiece of the garden is a pergola constructed by volunteer members of All Saints’ Church in Princeton. The pergola replaces a similar one constructed by the church in 2010 at the Family Preservation Center’s former home at the Marie Katzenbach School for the Deaf. After moving to its present location in 2015, HomeFront asked All Saints’ to construct the new one, which was completed shortly before the pandemic.
The pergola faces an extensive garden of indigenous flowers that were planted with the help of Meredith Melendez of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Mercer County, the Mercer County Board of Agriculture, landscape architect Bay Weber, and the Wasch Family Foundation.
At the dedication, the Rev. Hugh Brown, rector of All Saints’ Church, said church members were blessed to partner with HomeFront to support at-risk families. “Spiritual support is so critical to human dignity, respect, and empowerment. Our own Christian faith calls us to serve God by serving our neighbor, especially our vulnerable neighbor,” he said, adding that the garden is a space for healing, hope, and renewal.
“My hope is that this will become a place where our parents can come to reflect and renew, our children can laugh and sing and witness the joy of nature, and those who we miss can always be remembered,” HomeFront Founder Connie Mercer said.