STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Staten Island teenager is helping feed those in need.
The Boy Scout recently transformed a community garden to make sure more people can get their hands on fresh produce.
The original landscape was just a picnic table and a smaller church garden before the Staten Island Boy Scout came along.
“I wanted to make a real impact, a real difference,” said Ralph Lamberti III.
The 16-year-old is on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout, but first, he had to complete a community service project.
“I thought about it, literally over the course of years and I came up with this,” said Ralph.
The “this” he is referring to is expanding the garden at the Olivet Presbyterian Church in West Brighton. His grandma attends the parish, and he volunteered there last year.
“So I had a general idea that they would need some help,” said Ralph.
Three days a week the garden is open to the community. Anyone can come pick fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs for free, but it was in the need of a major face-lift and expansion.
The church’s pastor is thrilled to receive such assistance.
“This is a little bit of a food desert in this area,” said Reverend Melodee Bottari. “There is not a supermarket within walking distance. So you find that a lot of people in this area don’t have access to really fresh vegetables.”
Last week, Ralph mobilized more than 30 volunteers. He had them clean up the garden, add extra beds of produce, and set up compost area. He also raised $4,300 for the project.
“Very proud of the support he received that the GoFundMe page received donations from people we don’t even know,” said Ralph’s dad, Ralph Lamberti Jr.
As this teen looks to the future he is already proving you can make a difference before even graduating high school.
“Whatever I do in life, I want it to be meaningful,” said Ralph.
In order to become an Eagle Scout Ralph says he has to do just two more things: submit some paper work and pass an interview.