Approximately 40 Bank of America employees from across Southern California volunteered to help landscape a barren lot next to a veteran housing community in Santa Clarita on Saturday.
The lot is located in front of a 78-home development designed to be a Veteran Enriched Neighborhood near 21550 Centre Pointe Parkway. Homes 4 Families, a nonprofit dedicated to helping create the affordable housing for veterans, accepted applications from former members of the military who were honorably discharged, living within a certain income bracket and live with a disability. A veteran’s number of dependents was also taken into consideration.
“Today is the last day the veterans got their keys and they’re moving in, and all 78 homes are complete,” said Donielle DeLeon, director of corporate community engagement for Homes 4 Families. Inside the VEN there is a community garden and green area that the veterans will take care of themselves, she said.
“These community areas are important not only for the beautification of the community, but for the veterans to have ownership of their community,” she said.
DeLeon said the Bank of America employees planted more than 400 different plants in the lot leading up to the recently completed development, and they consisted of myoporum and three varieties of agave. While some volunteers used rakes and shovels to clear out gravel, others used spades to dig holes that would become home for one of each of the plants.
“Bank of America supports veterans and is supporting the neighborhood,” said DeLeon. “So they decided to come out and do a community-area, and they decided to make a donation and bring out (the) manpower.”
“We support organizations that focus on affordable housing and we know it’s very important to support our veterans,” said Anjanette Guerrero, community relations manager for Bank of America. “Last year, we provided a $10,000 grant to Homes 4 Families help with the completion of that project and so we wanted to follow-up with not only financial support but also volunteerism.”
Some of those present who also work at Bank of America were veterans themselves who decided to spend their day paying it forward to other former members of the military.
“I try to give back because I’ve lived a good life and I want to make sure others can, too,” said Tina Marie Stockdale, senior vice president in small business lending at Bank of America and a U.S. Air Force veteran. “They’ve served our country and given a lot.”
The landscaping, designed by Gothic Landscape, is designed to handle the surface runoff from the neighborhood above so as to ensure flooding doesn’t occur across the neighborhood’s main road or in a nearby daycare center, according to officials.
“It’ll be awesome,” said Stockdale. “The kids will love it from the day care and the homeowners up here will have a nice place to walk with their families and not have to drive by a place with snakes.”