CHICAGO (CBS) — Food insecurity, unemployment, missed rent payments; you’ve heard a lot of that in the past year.

A group of kids in the north suburbs is stepping up to fight back against those issues with gardening.

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Morning Insider Tim McNicholas shows us the unique Seeds 4 Success program.

From the ground up. From hard work to fruitful rewards.

That’s the philosophy Wade Stevenson and Janine James bring to the West Side Community Center.

The group stared a garden during the pandemic to help people in the Waukegan area who were out of work and struggling to afford groceries.

“Having nutritious foods rather than fast foods. That was a big point for us,” Stevenson said.

“To be able to feed our community, from our community,” James said.

But the real stars of the show are still blooming themselves; 25 local students who meet to garden—and learn—twice a week.

Kids like Tai’shaire Carter.

What does she like so much about it?

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“People in the community coming by stopping by the help us. I missed seeing people so I really like that,” Carter said.

The U.S. economy might be climbing back, but many families are still in hard times.

A Northwestern University study found the number of people who struggled to find enough food doubled during the spring of 2020, and tripled in families with children.

This is one grocery store that’s free.

“So we have to be a community that tries to help them find the resources they need,” James said.

“Squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans,” Carter said.

Now the group plans to build on their success by helping people with other needs, like paying the rent or finding healthcare.

And of course, people in those programs will also be offered free fruit and vegetables.

“We want to help people as the moratorium on evictions will be ending August 31st this year, we want to find assistance with people to get their rent and utilities paid,” Stevenson said.

The group will have a big farmer’s market and party this Saturday to celebrate their achievements.

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That’ll also include a vaccine drive at the West Side Community Center in Waukegan.

Tim McNicholas