Providing opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities has been the mission of Macon Citizens Habilities (MCH) for over three decades and now with support from the Evergreen Foundation a new venture is planned. No later than early spring, MCH will begin a greenhouse business at their campus on Lake Wheeler Road in Franklin.
Several months ago Jeannie Garrett, president and CEO of MCH and staff began exploring ideas that would provide meaningful work for the individuals in their programs. The new business needed to provide a wide variety of tasks from the very simple to more complex. Once they had decided on a greenhouse, they discovered that a local business with greenhouses was going out of business.
“We were able to obtain a 28 by 96 foot greenhouse with potting shelves at a very reasonable cost.” stated Garrett. “Then with the funding from the Evergreen Foundation we were able to grade the site and we will be able to move the greenhouse in the next few weeks. With funding cuts the grant meant the world to us. We are very appreciative.”
This project will allow MCH to meet two needs; one is to provide meaningful work for the individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities that they serve and the second is to provide revenue for the agency. Once the program is up and running they will be able to sell their bedding plants and herbs. Eventually if they are able to generate significant revenue MCH plans to expand services and support additional individuals in their program. Currently MCH serves 50 individuals a day in their day treatment and pre-vocational work programs.
The site selected for the greenhouse already had electricity, water and restrooms so they will be able to operate the greenhouse year-round. Additionally the location will provide for local sales since it located along a road front. MCH already has a business venture making greeting cards out of recycled paper.
To learn more about MCH programs and services visit their web site at maconcitizens.org. The mission of the Evergreen Foundation is to improve access to and public awareness of quality prevention, treatment, and support services by the provider community to individuals and families with intellectual/developmental disabilities, behavioral health, and/or substance abuse needs in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties. To learn more about the Foundation visit evergreenfoundationnc.org.