‘Planet Day’ volunteers act to landscape homeless shelter

Discover why this act of kindness will continue giving to people in need, long after the day of service has ended …

Volunteers from Dennis’s Seven Dees Landscaping put the finishing touches on a flower bed, atop a cement block wall, that will keep the dirt from filling the patio when it rains at the Daybreak Shelter.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A commercial landscaper and other volunteers all pitched in on April 22 – known as “Planet Day of Service” – to help improve the entryway and playground of Human Solutions managed Daybreak Shelter.

“Landscape contractors associated with the Professional Land Care Network are taking on projects like this, all across the nation today,” said Corey Verch of Dennis’s Seven Dees Landscaping.

Corey Verch of Dennis’s Seven Dees Landscaping carries new flowers, soon to be planted on the Daybreak Shelter’s grounds.

Volunteers were shoring up a hillside beside the daylight basement entrance of the outer East Portland facility using dimensioned cement blocks; others were getting ready to install new plants.

“This is a time for us to get out and give back to the community,” Verch told East Portland News. “This is a great project for us, because we work with Human Solutions. There were unsafe conditions in the yard, in the play area, and in the steps leading from the center up to the play area.

“We’re making repairs, changing that, and beautifying it for them today,” Verch added.

Human Solutions at Daybreak Shelter Network Emergency Services Manager Edith Murillo says she’ll feel much better about kids playing here, once the swing set has been refurbished.

“The work they’re doing is great!” enthused Human Solutions at Daybreak Shelter Network Emergency Services Manager Edith Murillo.

“I’ve been working here at the shelter for the last five years,” Murillo said. “We’ve been concerned about the kids having a nice safe place to play.”

In addition to problems in the entrance area, Murillo pointed out that the swing set was breaking down and needed repair. “Even though the swings were falling off, kids were still going out there to play. When this is fixed up later today, it will be like-new again.”

About the landscaping company, Murillo said, “Thank goodness for them; we appreciate all the hard work they’re doing. They are donating their time, the materials, and everything we need to get this project completed. If it weren’t for them, we would not be able to do this renovation.”

Students from the Springdale Job Corps spread barkdust along the building.

Springdale Job Corps students were also pitching in, she said

“I have a special connection with them; I’m a Job Corps graduate. It’s great to have those extra hands here.

“We also have one of our guests out there volunteering,” Murillo smiled. “Hopefully, maybe when they see how well he works, maybe he can get a ‘foot in the door’ for a job.”

Project volunteer, and Human Solutions client, Jimmie Valdovinos shovels in another load of barkdust.

Shelter client Jimmie Valdovinos was loading up barkdust, and delivering it to the work areas. “The Daybreak Shelter has helped me a lot; it’s ‘home’ for now. I’m glad to give back; they’ve given me so much.”

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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