Day of Caring Brings Splash of Color to Jennie Lane
Jennie Lane got a colorful facelift on Friday, September 16, when volunteers from MassMutual Financial Group spent the day digging flower beds and planting mums, black-eyed Susans and beach grass.
The three new gardens, two at the entrance of St. James Avenue and one at the center of the 96-unit elderly complex, came courtesy of the United Way of Pioneer Valley’s annual Day of Caring, when hundreds of volunteers spread across the region, doing good deeds and leaving their marks in many forms.
For residents like Patrick O’Connor, who has lived at the complex the past six years, the work was a gift that will keep on giving.
“It’s great. It’s very good. I’m going to enjoy looking at this for a very long time,” said O’Connor. He spent part of the day sitting on his upstairs porch with friends looking down at the work underway.
Resident and SHA Board Member Jennie Choiniere, for whom the development is named, said she’s happy to look out her window.
“This is my home, and I want it to look nice,” she said. “I’m proud now to have people come visit. It looks great.”
At the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club on Nick Cosmos Way, five Springfield Housing Authority employees were among 17 Day of Caring volunteers who spent the day painting a room, cleaning out a garden, sweeping the basketball court of glass and debris, and making a playground safer for the children who play there.
Boys and Girls Club program coordinator Maria Baez said the day was an unqualified success.
“It was awesome. Everybody pitched in and helped each other out. People even went home to get the gardening tools they needed. We got so much done. This makes such a difference for us, and we are so grateful,” Baez said.
SHA volunteers who spent the day in Holyoke were Denise Gignac, Mercedes Graver, Ruth Maio, Teresa Potito and Aris Sanchez.
Assistant Executive SHA Director Michelle Booth was on hand at Jennie Lane, meeting with residents and looking over the work. She said she was impressed.
“It’s fabulous. It’s instant appeal,” she said. “The residents are very excited to see this.”