By Stephanie Gonzalez
Robbie Dixon, the Lamplighter’s April Volunteer Spotlight, inherited a love of gardening from his mother growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana. He started with house plants, but when he moved to Elzey Street in Cooper-Young in 1993 he greatly expanded his botanical palette and embraced a new love for volunteering rooted in his new passion.
Now Dixon’s house features a variety of vegetable beds that he plants from his own saved GMO-free seeds, growing tomatoes, okra, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, onions, potatoes, turnips, beets, and more.
“I way over plant,” he says. “But I enjoy it and share a lot with neighbors and friends.”
That sharing extends to more than just vegetables. Robbie has been a member of the Cooper-Young Garden Club since it began. That’s led to a number of volunteer activities, including planting pots at Cooper-Young entrances, digging holes for trees to be planted at the Spanish Memorial Park, digging holes for fence posts at the Cooper-Young Community Association office, participating in the Cooper-Young Garden Tour, and doing clean up and yard work for neighbors who can no longer do it themselves.
“I enjoy doing for others. It’s satisfying to the soul,” Dixon says. “I realize that by helping them, one day I will be the one who needs help and am hoping that help will be there for me should I need it.”
Robbie loves Cooper-Young for its open attitude, the variety of businesses and people, the architecture, and the neighborhood’s proximity to everything Memphis offers. He suggests anyone who’s interested in volunteering start by getting involved with one of the many groups in Cooper-Young.
“Just give volunteering a try,” he said. “It may not be for you, but if it is, you will find that the feelings it can bring are more than you could ever imagine.”