KILLEEN, TX — The Killeen Creators are a group of community leaders who have big plans for the city of Killeen. Right now, they are starting with community gardens to combat food insecurity in the area.
Today, their mission means more than ever before, with their founder, Kelly Flading now in hospice, fighting fate.
Kristin Wright the Executive Director and Board Chair of Killeen Creators, said “It came out of H-E-B closing in North Killeen. That was the impetus and the concern for people who didn't have transportation, and means to get to fresh vegetables, and fruit.”
Wright said the momentum the organization gaining is incredible to witness.
“We're having people come to our churches, other nonprofits, Realtors, developers and investors saying Killeen Creators we want to garden, can we work with you? And we are on it. We are ready. We're going to do it,” she said.
With two sites up and running, a third in the works and a 3-acre field in development they are going to need a lot more helping hand.
One of their very first members MJ Gregory said she's ready to get her hands dirty.
“I believe in what they're doing. I want to be part of it. This is my opportunity to give back because I feel like I have been extraordinarily blessed as a person,” Gregory said.
Gregory is a veteran and although she has chronic pain from her time serving in the military, she feels called to serve the Killeen community, rain or shine.
“With my limitations, I can still use my hands and arms and creep around and do whatever I can. But I wanted to come out here and serve people that needed to be served, you know, and the aspect of educating people about where your food comes from, and what it can do for your health excites me, you know because I think food can be your medicine and medicine could be you,” said Gregory.
Their motto, “Take what you need. Give what you can.” Although their Community Gardens have been successful, Wright says they are just getting started.
“Our goal is to have a community garden within walking distance of every resident of Killeen,” said Wright.
Gregory said, “You know, Killeen needs a movement and well-being and health I think should be it.”
Wright said she is so happy to see how far Killeen Creators have come in just a year. She said as they move forward, they will keep Flading's vision at the forefront.
“Watching a community really understand her vision in a short time. It's just a beautiful manifestation of what community can do.”
The fruits and vegetables from the garden are free to anyone who needs it. In the future Killeen Creators plan on focusing on the additional pillars of their organization, the art of recovery and civic empowerment.
To find out more about Killeen Creators click here.