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Volunteers turn out in droves for Mabton 'day of caring'

MABTON - Volunteers turned out in droves for Mabton's "Day of Caring," a work-party event that took place yesterday to help new home owners beautify their lawns.

According to Isabel Garcia, housing specialist for the Diocese of Yakima Housing Services, the

"Day of Caring" is actually a United Way initiative, and Catholic Charities Housing Services chose to celebrate it by assisting the new homeowners with their beautification efforts.

The volunteers were working at the New Life Homes site in Mabton, a Catholic Charities Housing Services project that helps low income residents buy a new home.

Homeowners must provide "sweat equity," and the landscaping efforts contributed to that.

Employees from Yakima and Selah branches of Banner Bank were on hand to donate labor, which included digging out weeds, raking and then laying sod.

"Banner Bank really likes to be involved in the communities we live and work in," said Selah branch manager April Leslie.

Charley Hanses, a commercial lender from the Yakima branch, added, "It's actually an expectation if you're employed by Banner Bank. It's in our mission statement."

Mabton Mayor Velva Herrera also donated labor. Herrera said that she'd been invited to volunteer by Garcia, and knew it'd be a worthy effort. She's volunteered to do yard work before at New Life Homes and said it's very rewarding to drive past the homes and see the fruits of volunteer labor.

Antonia Espinoza, a new homeowner at the site, expressed her gratitude for the volunteer help through Garcia, who was acting as an interpreter. "She doesn't know what to say, but she said it's great everybody showed up to help out.

"She thanks everybody for coming out to help complete the hours."

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