When I contacted the Family Advocate she told me she really didn’t know the size the raised beds were…that they were maybe 2×3 or 4×6 and she shared she really didn’t know anything about gardening.  Our team brought some supplies with us, extra gardening gloves, compost and some veggie starts.

We arrived at Trinity Place and discovered that not only were the beds terribly overgrown with weeds and grass but that the small bed was actually 10×10 and the large bed 10×20.  We went right to work on the large bed turning the soil with shovels and sifting through it to pick the weeds and grass out.   Pretty soon, several of the kids came out to see what was going on and they started helping pull the weeds.  Soon after that about 6 of the moms joined in and more kids jumped in to help the ‘ladies with the orange shirts.”

While part of the crew continued to work on the large bed another group began to work compost into the soil of the smaller bed.  The “orange shirt ladies” helped teach the residents and kids how to plant tomatoes, zucchini starts and cucumber seeds.  Finally the large bed was free of weeds and grass so six bags of compost were mixed into the soil.  As the planting commenced, the kids got more and more excited.  They planted strawberry plants, bush beans, radishes, carrots, spinach and beets.  The highlight of the day was the kids getting to plant their own pea patch with each child’s name posted next to the peas they had planted.

April Ebert—project lead for Trinity Place( a home for single Moms with children)

I lead a team at Silver Firs Elementary, we were partnered with their PTA to clean up the grounds and spread several yards of bark. The principal was astounded by the work done by giving hearts. Our numbers swelled their ranks and allowed us to complete the job quickly and beautifully. We exceeded their expectations for the day and they are looking forward to next year. In the Community Garden, a family showed up who had lost a son recently who loved gardening and serving. Kevin Gasparich, one of our garden leads, had them work as a team to lay burlap and bark around the apple trees. They seemed at peace with the work they performed. For the Memorial donations for their son, they asked that those donations go to the Community Garden.

Todd Henrichson—Project lead at Silver First Elementary

I have read the comments from the Everett missionaries. There were many. Every comment about the Hope Creek Day of service was positive. We were delighted to work with Hope Creek on this and hope there will be other opportunities where we can work together again.

Mark Bonhman-President of Everett Mission LDS

Laurie was asked if she knew about Day of Hope. When she said ‘yes’, he said “Thank everyone who worked on the grounds.” Seeing the campus on Monday morning nearly moved him to tears.

Head custodian of Penny Creek Elementary—from Laurie Bowles

I learned that serving is a form of worship.

Aimee Dunbar—Project lead for Little Cedars Elementary

At our Arlington location, a group of 14 volunteers worked all day to clean out massive amounts of overgrown bushes and weeds that were taking over the yard and reducing visibility around our Maternity Group Home.   The teams were more than eager to tackle project after project, and provided a transformation that made the house look like new.  Their work allowed for more visibility from the house to the driveway, increasing the security of the program, in addition to rejuvenating the entire exterior of the home.  They weren’t able to finish all the work, but nearly EVERY person who volunteered that day was eager to come out again to continue.  It was more than we ever could have expected or hoped for, and it made me proud to be a part of such a great day of community service, let alone be on the receiving end of it.

Thank you so much for coordinating this day of service.  As I told the volunteers, all of our energies at Cocoon House goes directly to serving the youth in our programs.  This is great for the kids, not for our yards.  And every one of the volunteers was enthusiastic about helping transform our sites into places that the kids can be proud to live when they return from school, work  or appointments.  We were honored to receive this loving support  from the community and THANK YOU for the extensive work you put into coordinating it.

Marty Shaw—Director of Cocoon House in Arlington

Cocoon House was blessed to receive approximately 40 volunteers on Saturday to tackle projects at 3 different locations (two in close proximity to each other in Everett and one in Arlington).  I spent the day between all the sites, ensuring the teams had the tools, supplies and refreshments they needed.

Through the 225 labor hours that these volunteers donated, they had a DRAMATIC impact on our programs.  At our main location in Everett, they transformed the entire block to the point that it look ready for a city parade.  The bushes were manicured, the planted beds raked out, lawns edged and mowed and trash removed.  Some of the neighboring businesses even came out to donate cases of bottled water after seeing the works of your teams.  The team also cleaned out hazardous trash, such as needles , from the areas around our building.  In addition there were areas that showed signs of fostering dangerous activities and waste, that the team trimmed bushes and hedges to allow for more visibility and less cover for those issues to hide behind.  In the end, multiple staff of Cocoon House said they have never seen our street look so good.

Marty Shaw—Director of Cocoon House Everett

Cheryl, please let Hope Creek and your Gold Creek Community know how much we appreciated their efforts. The grounds look fantastic.

Sam Hanson—Vice Principal Little Cedars Elementary

Aimee, you and your crew did an awesome job. Thank you so much to the man with the weed eater. Our whole school just looks happier. Thank you again for your time and energy with this project.

Cathy McMaster—Little Cedars Elementary teacher