Five years ago, the Menlo Park Rotary Club and the city joined forces with community volunteers and established a garden that would serve the Belle Haven community. It was situated on city-owned property at Ivy Drive and Hill Avenue, and its 25 beds of volunteer-tended soil would support the growing of vegetables, fruit and flowers.
Last month the Belle Haven community garden acquired a feature aimed at providing a bounty for those wishing to expand their worlds through the magic of reading. Eagle Scout candidate Thomas Garff, 13, designed, built and installed a Little Free Library to plant in the garden, complete with books for the picking.
The city of Menlo Park, the Rotary Club and Facebook on Oct. 26 hosted a ceremony to unveil the wooden, book-filled enclosure, with Mayor Pro Tem Cecelia Taylor presenting a proclamation recognizing Thomas "as an outstanding example of volunteerism and community service for others to follow."
Thomas, a Hillview Middle School student and Willows resident, estimates that he spent more than 40 hours on the project, with fellow scouts volunteering an additional 100 hours, according to Tom Gibboney of the Rotary Club. But not all the work was done by the kids: Thomas' grandfather pitched in as well, and traveled from his home in Utah to attend the unveiling ceremony and presentation of the proclamation honoring young Thomas, Gibboney said.
Facebook helped with funding for the project, and Lauren Sweezey of that company also attended the ceremony, Gibboney said.
According to the proclamation, Thomas has given more than 150 hours of volunteer service to the Menlo Park community through activities such as community beautification projects, canned food drives, and collecting donated Spanish-language books for a service trip to Guatemala with Operation Smile, among other projects. He has also volunteered in Spanish immersion programs at local elementary schools, the proclamation said.
Thomas is expected to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout in January, according to the proclamation.