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Jean Hobling likes to grow four to six tomato plants every summer behind the garage of her Sylvania home.
The hardest part for the 80-year-old is carrying a five-gallon water container from the kitchen out to the backyard when the plants get dry.
Now that she has a rain barrel courtesy of the Lucas County "Live Green, Save Green" program, keeping the vegetables growing will be a lot easier, Mrs. Hobling said.
Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak and Jeff Grabarkiewicz, chairman of the Toledo-Lucas County Sustainability Commission, delivered rain barrels and composters to families yesterday as part of the summer program.
The two detailed the program outside Mrs. Hobling's home on Summit Street in Sylvania, where a rain barrel and composter will be installed this week.
"I have a lot of flowers around the house and when I moved here there was an outside spigot but that was broken," Mrs. Hobling said.
"I have never had a rain barrel before but they tell me it will be helpful."
There are a growing number of people nationwide turning to collected rainwater for nondrinking uses such as watering plants and even flushing toilets and washing laundry.
"During our warm summer months, there's lots of opportunity for growing and gardening," Ms. Wozniak said. "With a rain barrel, a family can capture rainwater that would otherwise run into the storm sewer and use it for their garden. It's easy, it's a huge cost savings, and it doesn't waste a drop of water."
Mrs. Hobling was selected by Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough to be given the rain barrel and composter.
Five families will get free rain barrels or composters under the program.
The composters were donated by The Andersons and the barrel came from the Toledo Rain Garden Initiative, Ms. Wozniak said.
The program connects local businesses and organizations to demonstrate the financial and environmental benefits of going green outside one's home.
The rain barrels and composters will be available to purchase at the Frogtown Fair - Promoting Green Living, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, at the Erie Street Market near downtown.
- Ignazio Messina