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Woman's needs lead to farm fresh nonprofit in Chicora Cherokee neighborhood

Chicora Cherokee garden - Jefferson Awards (17).jpg

It's no secret hunger is a problem for many in the Lowcountry, and nearly 200,000 people depend on food assistance programs every year.

An even bigger problem is the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables for low income neighborhoods.

That's where May's Jefferson Award recipient comes in. She is working to change the way her neighbors eat.

A rusty fence is all that seperates Success Street and the road to success for Germaine Jenkins.

"We believe that everyone should access to quality food," Jenkins said.

Jenkins' roots are not planted in the middle of the Chicora Cherokee neighborhood.

"They taste as good as they smell coming out of the ground," she said.

Her secret recipe is simple: produce produce for a neighboood in need of fruits and vegetables.

Jenkins got busy in 2014 and turned her own family's experiences into a nonprofit called Fresh Future Farms.

"We lived in public housing, did the pantry. When you can't afford to buy it for your kids, you learn how to do it," she said. "We took a need that we had as a family and turned it ito something that will benefit a lot more people."

Feeding her neighbors is just the beginning, too.

"When we start the farm tours, this is what everyone will want to look at -- the bees," Jenkins said.

Because what would be bees without the birds?

"These will be the spoiled chickens. I hope the eggs are as good as the chickens are spoiled," she said.

Built with pallets, straw, clay, and a few recycled bottles, Jenkins' chickens won't need to scratch to get out the door -- just lift the seat.

If it's out there, Jenkins will recycle it, including 200 hard hats helping hold up a fence. She's determined to help break the cycle in low income neighborhoods.

Fresh Future Farms opened a grocery store three weeks ago.

"If the neighborhood doesn't have fresh produce and not lot of good jobs, why not employee people to grow it and then sell it?" Jenkins said when asked about opening her own grocery store.

There are still more goals to be reached, but for today Jenkins has turned the corner in a neighborhood in need of success stories.

"It's turned my 45-year-old self into a kid again just to see the seed we put into the ground can feed the neighborhood," she said.

Jenkins' farm is also chemical free. She's also set up a program where volunteers can earn vouchers to spend in the store.

The store is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

ABC News 4 has committed to profile people in the Lowcountry who go above and beyond by giving their time and talents to help the people around them. It's all part of our partnership with the Jefferson Awards, a national organization dedicated to recognizing and celebrating those who serve and lead.

If you would like to share someone's story of volunteerism who needs to be recognized, click here.

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