Kids of incarcerated parents helped through tomato plant sale

Kids of incarcerated parents helped through tomato plant sale
The tomatoes come in 47 varieties. (Source KSWO)
The tomatoes come in 47 varieties. (Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO)

MEDICINE PARK, OK (KSWO) -A Medicine Park man is looking to change the lives of children of incarcerated parents, one tomato plant at a time.

"Orange tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, gold tomatoes, sweet tomatoes, tart tomatoes…you name it, we've got your tomato," said Steve Miller.

Miller has been cultivating 1,400 tomato plants in Medicine Park at his own expense for the past few months. The money he raises will help fund "Life skills rock," a Marie Detty program in Lawton.

After spending 27 years in the public school system and in youth ministry, he has seen kids go through tough times when they are missing one or both parents and wants to be able to give them a helping hand. Miller says there are approximately 100 children with incarcerated parents in Lawton Public Schools.

Miller says when you get to the heart of it all, he wants the children of incarcerated parents to know they have people in the community willing to help them.

"There's a group of kids out there that you can reach and you can help. When their families are missing a father, missing a mother, things like that it's rough. But when it is because they are a child of an incarcerated parent, give them all the help you can," Miller said.

Miller hopes by planting these tomato seeds, it will be a worthwhile investment into those children's future.

"Seed-faith money. It started with seeds and started with potting soil, and all of our pots are recycled and so the sunshine was free, but other than that there has been quite a bit of work going into them," Miller explained.

While he does much of the work on his own, he also employs the help of several kids; all volunteers like 5-year-old Cooper El Kouri. He is not the child of an incarcerated parent, but enjoys helping out nonetheless.

"Put the dirt in there and help him plant them," Kouri said.

Miller says each time they move a plant into the sunshine, they pray for the kids and hope they get just as much care as these plants.

"They have not just stayed in the greenhouse. We move them in and out and in and out and in and out so they would catch all the natural sunlight that they could and the results are some huge very healthy plants," Miller said.

Miller says he believes the kids deserve all the help they can get.

"We want them to be able to make decisions correctly and have a positive future. Set some goals for their life. Just because something is missing in one area doesn't mean you can't overcome and be anything that you feel like you need to be," Miller said.

If you like tomatoes, you won't want to miss this sale. The heirloom tomatoes come in 47 varieties from 14 countries.

The sale will take place Saturday, April 16, at Word Alive Church on Southwest 'A' Avenue across from McDonald's. They'll be out there selling plants from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

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