More than two dozen volunteers fanned out with drills, saws, shovels and shears to help Sasha Cady, a 63-year-old disabled woman, build raised beds for vegetable gardening. Her goal is to produce enough food to share with local food banks and other people like her — who also need a hand.
Over the past few years, Sasha Cady has learned to accept help.
When the bank foreclosed on her single-wide trailer, church and charitable groups in Snohomish County pitched in to make repairs so the 63-year-old disabled woman could apply for new financing.
When the same groups checked in recently to see if Cady needed any more assistance, she said: Sure. “But this time, I wanted to give back,” Cady said Sunday, surveying her yard as more than two dozen volunteers fanned out with drills, saws, shovels and shears.
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What Cady asked for was a hand in building raised beds for vegetable gardening. Her goal is to produce enough food to share with local food banks and other people like her — who also need a hand.
“You give me so much hope,” she said to the assembled volunteers, before they started work in the 70-degree-plus heat. “This counters the stinginess of the era.”
Cady said she encountered unexpected generosity from several quarters as she patched the project together. She thought she had a source of free wood lined up, through a local mill with a scrap pile. But the pile had been cleared away. So she stopped at Home Depot, to see if they might be willing to help.
Not only did the store provide free lumber, workers cut it to length, delivered it to Cady’s home in the rural stretch between Woodinville and Monroe — and showed up after their shifts on Sunday to help with the construction and other chores.
“There are so many people in this situation and they’re too embarrassed to ask for help,” said Home Depot employee Jessie DeLeon, who delivered the wood from stores in Everett and Bothell. “When I heard her story, it just really touched me.”
Cady’s multiple health problems, including a heart disorder, have made it difficult for her to continue her work as an artist. Her large garden used to yield more than 30 pounds of extra produce a week, which she donated to local food banks. Then knee surgeries made it impossible for her to navigate the slope leading to the plot.
Working in raised beds isn’t as hard on her body, she explained, as four teenage boys pieced boards together into a large, square box. Part of Sunday’s first wave of volunteers, the boys were all from the youth program at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Everett.
Seventeen-year-old Olivier Goudreau, of Snohomish, said it’s the kind of work he does at home — a lot. “My dad has always been that person who says: I’m not going to pay somebody. I’m going to do it myself.”
Teens less adept with power tools grabbed rakes and loppers to help tame Cady’s unruly yard.
“It’s kind of humbling,” said 16-year-old Hannah Albert, of Everett. “You feel like you’re entitled to a lot — especially as a teenager. This kind of brings you back to earth.”
Catholic Community Services coordinated the youth volunteers.
Cady was overwhelmed.
“I’m exhausted,” she said, hobbling from one group to another. “But aren’t they so sweet?”
Sandi Doughton: 206-464-2491 or firstname.lastname@example.org