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Identity & Community

"Miss Becky" Gets a New Ride

Northside Leadership Conference

For more than 40 years, Becky Coger could be seen piling mulch and gardening supplies into the back of her pickup to tend to one of her six North Side community gardens. Coger’s green thumb was given an unwanted rest when a drunk driver destroyed her 1984 GMC more than three months ago.

But Thursday, Coger, or “Miss Becky” as she’s affectionately known, was handed the keys to a 2003 Dodge Ram paid for through donations from more than 130 North Side neighbors.

Mark Fatla, executive director of the Northside Leadership Conference, said Coger lives on a fixed-income and her insurance wouldn’t cover the cost of a new truck, so community members decided to step in.

“Within a week we had reached our goal of 5,000 bucks for a simple used truck and we wound up receiving over $10,000 in donations from 130 different donors to help Becky get a used truck so she can continue her work,” he said.

Cash donations ranged from $1 to $500, with an Atlanta woman sending $20 after seeing Coger’s story on Facebook.

Coger and her ’84 GMC were North Side staples, according to Fatla.

“You can get a bunch of volunteers out, but somebody’s still got to get the mulch and the plants and everything and get it to the site,” he said. “And that’s why the truck’s been so valuable. It helps leverage a lot of time and energy from volunteers who then turn that into something wonderful.”

When she wasn’t hauling soil or preparing to plant some vegetables, Coger and her truck were delivering groceries from the local food pantry or helping neighbors move.

After a few months off, Fatla said Coger can’t wait until spring so she can get back to her gardens.

“To see that somebody’s taking care of a plot of ground and making it attractive for everyone to enjoy and doing it not because they’re paid, but because they want to,” he said. “I don’t know how you measure it, but it certainly is incredibly valuable.”