Justin's Garden gets a hand from the Barefoot Gardeners


The Barefoot Gardeners are always ready to help a garden in need — an attitude that led to the group’s Feb. 9 donation to Justin’s Beach House.

Coastal Point • Submitted  : Craig Nantais, right, accepts a check from the Barefoot Gardeners at Justin’s Beach House in Bethany Beach.Coastal Point • Submitted
Craig Nantais, right, accepts a check from the Barefoot Gardeners at Justin’s Beach House in Bethany Beach.

Since 2010, the Bethany Beach respite house has been a free and relaxing retreat for families dealing with cancer, named for Justin Jennings, a young man who passed away from cancer in 2000. Now, organizers have begun Justin’s Garden, a backyard retreat to match the house’s tranquil atmosphere and help families further enjoy their break from hospitals and medical worries.

Bonnie Zonko of the Barefoot Gardeners club this week presented Justin W. Jennings Foundation with a check for $2,100, giving life to a landscape design by Gardening Angels, Becky Johns & Pat Hendrickson, which got a head start from Brian Rowe of Rowe Property Maintenance.

Justin’s Garden began in 2012 with another boy, Jake Maggid, who honored his own bar mitzvah by donating part of his summer vacation and birthday money to pulling weeds and maintaining the yard. His family also made a donation to the garden.

The entire project is community-driven, from volunteers maintaining the house and yard to businesses donating supplies.

“It’s just another community effort. It’s nice that people can see what it is going toward and the people it helped [when they] drive by,” said Craig Nantais, Justin’s father and chairman of the foundation.

Volunteers can see the fruit of their efforts every day. A brick pathway, trees and large shrubs were the first additions to the yard. Nantais said more landscaping and a grill or fire pit may be the next step.

According to Nantais, 37 families from six states have vacationed at Justin’s Beach House since it opened. The 2013 summer season is already booked, but applications for the spring are still being accepted until June. For more information or to make a donation, call the Justin W. Jennings Foundation at (302) 261-2510, email info@justinjennings.org or visit the Web site at www.justinsbeachhouse.org.