Volunteers participate in National Day of Service

September 11, 2009 7:12:43 PM PDT
Americans across the country remembered the victims and heroes of 9/11 by doing volunteer work. it was the first-ever National Day of Service.

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A backyard in San Jose is going to take on a new look by Thanksgiving. Volunteers today are creating two raised garden beds for growing fresh organic fruit and vegetables.

It's hard work, especially on a hot day. Sacramento State student Jose Bygoytia doesn't mind working up a sweat.

"Especially nowadays with the economy in this country being pretty harsh, this is a wonderful way to give back to the community," said Bygoytia.

About 150 volunteers were recruited by sacred heart community service. They found the idea of a national day of service appealing.

"If you designate a day I think that helps people to organize around it, just the way people organize around Thanksgiving, Christmas. This is another day that you can come together and help out people," said volunteer Surendra Lele.

Many volunteers are young, but some, like Pat Beall, are retired.

While it sounds like a very small contribution, each garden will produce three crops a year, producing enough to feed several families and the national day of service has produced a new crop of volunteers.

"There are definitely people here who have never been inside our building, and the push for a national program like this or the recognition really helped things out," said Todd Madigan from Sacred Heart Community Service.

And helping families to grow their own produce will ease the escalating demand on food programs.

While 18 gardens were built today, the goal is to have 100 of them built by the end of the year. And master gardeners will be volunteering their time to go out and consult with residents to make sure they do effective organic gardening.

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