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City of Columbia dedicates community garden after late community advocator

Marvin Heller created a community garden before he died, to make sure the people in his neighborhood had food to eat.
Credit: WLTX

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Columbia officials dedicated a community garden to a person people say was a pillar to the community before he died from COVID-19.

"It was important to come together and rally for something and someone important to us," said Mayor Steve Benjamin. "Marvin Heller did a whole lot for a whole lot of people."

It was a vision created by Marvin Heller to make sure the people in his neighborhood had food to eat. Now the city of Columbia is keeping his work alive by dedicating the community garden in honor of Heller.

"He wanted a place for the community together, to talk, and meet new people," said City of Columbia Program Coordinator Jacqueline Williams.

City officials and loved ones gathered to the Lyon Street Community to cut the ribbon for the Marvin Heller Community Garden. Heller's family says he was an advocate for ensuring everyone had equal opportunities before he died from COVID-19 last year.

Credit: WLTX

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"He always believed in prosperity and growth," said Heller's nephew Cameron Young. "Just making this community better was always one of his goals. Something like a garden is something that can grow and the community can benefit from it."

Even though Marvin Heller is gone, people who knew him best say his legacy, just like the garden, will continue to grow.

"He's still here," expressed Heller's niece Adrienne Jackson. "To make an impact on someone, you don't have to be in the headlines. Being behind the scenes is where a lot of the work gets done."

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