A student organization from the University of Oklahoma found a way to give back to the Norman community on Saturday.

Members of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society arrived at the J.D. McCarty Center ready to plant a vegetable garden for patients. The center cares for children with developmental disabilities.

Zach Dunn, a member of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, said the organization participates in a community service event each year.

“They had a job for us so we came out,” Dunn said.

Volunteers spent Saturday morning leveling the ground and creating a flat base for the garden. Students expected to plant produce in the afternoon.

Dunn said past projects have included helping residents with indoor and outdoor home repairs.

“We like giving back, it’s nice,” he said.

Jennifer Giamelle, J.D. McCarty Center volunteer coordinator, appreciated the group stepping up to help the center.

“They also bought a picnic table for our kids,” she said.

Giamelle said patients will use the garden as part of their therapy. Children will pull weeds and water plants.

“They will learn how to take care of the garden,” she said.

Giamelle said a summer camp expected to open in 2012 also will benefit from the garden.

“It’s something we will use in our summer camp as well,” she said.

Tiffany Smith, advisor for American Indian Science and Engineering Society, helped volunteers assemble the picnic table. She said this is the organization’s 10th year to volunteer for a project.

“Every year we do something different,” she said.

Smith said some of the materials were delivered to the site earlier in the week.

“It took a lot of planning to get this going,” she said.

Smith said the garden should produce watermelons, cantaloupes, strawberries, onions and tomatoes.

Meghan McCormick 366-3539 mmccormick@norman-transcript.com

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