This past Friday, September 21st, was United Way’s annual volunteer Day of Caring. This is one of Imagine Housing’s favorite days each year because it means that we get matched up with incredible volunteers ready to work hard and make an impact at one of our properties.
On Friday, a few staff members and a group of Microsoft volunteers (who have led these projects for Imagine Housing for the past four years) headed over to the Highland Gardens in Issaquah to renovate the community garden. Just days prior to the project, the garden was overrun with weeds and big, thorny blackberry bushes. The fencing barely contained the wild mass of weeds and any vegetables or flowers had long since been smothered.
Imagine Housing brought in Teufel Landscaping as expert consultants on the project. Prior to Friday, Teufeul rototilled some of the worst weeds and blackberries, provided us with the landscaping materials at cost (THANK YOU), and came up with a design for the garden space.
Come Friday, there was a lot to be done and we needed all the volunteer hands we could get. Our team of sixteen Microsoft volunteers came in ready and rearing to go. They started by weeding the garden boxes and the surrounding area. They filled and hauled wheelbarrows full of drainage rock to edge the garden boxes and the potting shelter. Wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of weeds and debris were hauled away slowly exposing the garden underneath.
Many long forgotten toys and treasures were unearthed as the weeding and digging took place.
After each of the garden boxes were cleared, they were filled with fresh top soil. Over half of the newly reclaimed space was weeded and prepped for grass. Volunteers carefully rolled out and matched up patches of sod and pressed them into the soil with a large concrete roller.
Over the course of the day, a space that had previously been unusable was transformed into a beautiful and functional community space. The kids are especially excited to have a big grassy area to play in (the first of such space at a large property with nearly 150 children)!
The transformation from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm was really quite astounding. Thank you, Teufel, for your generous leadership on this project. Thank you, Microsoft, for lending so many stellar team members for the day. Your volunteer labor saved Imagine Housing over $5,000! And finally, a huge thank you to each one of our volunteers for working so hard to revitalize the garden at Highland Gardens. We could not have done it without you!
You can find a YouTube video of the entire day’s work and progress here.