PNM helps out at community garden

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Sixteen PNM employees spent a hot afternoon recently building raised garden beds, removing weeds, painting newly built garden beds, watering existing plants, spreading mulch and planting seeds and vegetable plants in El Corazon de Belen Garden Park.

The community service project is one of 19 conducted around the state as part of PNM's Annual Day of Service, where employees are encouraged to volunteer in their communities.

"We care about our community and are contributing to it today to help it thrive," said Donna Holliday, a Los Lunas resident and PNM administrator in the community relations department.

Chris R. Chavez, PNM project leader in the engineering department, said this isn't the only event of its kind. Employees are continually giving back to the community.

"We're happy to be here," said Chavez, a Los Chavez resident. "There's a lot of work going on with smiles and enthusiasm."

Once the service project was announced, Holliday said she was swamped with emails from employees willing to lend a hand and pitch in with equipment they had at home.

After driving past the community garden at Dalies Avenue and North Sixth Street, Dina Gonzales, of Belen, said she thought it needed some sprucing up.

"I wanted to make the town look better," said the customer service representative.

Los Lunas resident Delfina Romero said she joined the effort because she "was happy PNM was doing something in our community."

The community garden, aiming to create a place where residents can grow food through sustainable techniques, is headed into its third summer of providing food for locals. Food grown at the garden is donated to the Belen Area Food Pantry at the end of the growing season.

"This is keeping employees engaged in their community while providing food for the community," Holliday said.

This community service project goes to show that everybody counts and everybody can make a difference, said Dubra Karnes-Padilla, the community garden's chairwoman.

"Unless you're willing to give of your time and energy, you can't sit back and complain," Karnes-Padilla said.

As people have learned about the garden, they have become more involved in developing it into a full garden, she said.

If you would like to donate materials or volunteer at the community garden, call Dubra Karnes-Padilla at 864-2872.


-- Email the author at aortiz@news-bulletin.com.