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TOWNSEND — Residents are pulling together in the effort to build the first Habitat for Humanity house on Apple Drive, with the first lot cleaning taking place over the weekend.

Dozens of people worked side-by-side with Habitat recipients Jimmy and Teuta Baboci as they all took advantage of the warm weather to pull debris from the two-acre lot. Some 30 loads of debris were removed, with another 10 loads remaining. Several loads of scrap wood, which must be hauled to a recycling facility, also await removal.

Habitat for Humanity co-chairmen Donald Ouellette and Michele Cannon both expressed delight at the turnout.

“There is a lot of energy here, it’s a great thing,” Cannon said as she loaded brush into the back of a pickup truck.

Ouellette said the plan for construction of the new home is to get all the approvals from the various boards, then in early November start the clearing of the land.

“We are hoping to be able to start digging in early spring,” he added.

Abigail Clarke, a student at North Middlesex Regional High School, was contributing to the manual labor effort.

“My boyfriend told me about the cleaning here today, so I wanted to help out,” she said. Clarke is a member of the National Honor Society, which requires community service work.

“It’s a very good cause,” Clarke added.

Another volunteer, Mandy Matthews, wanted to help out as a way “to give back to the community. I always wanted to be a part of Habitat, and now I can,” she noted.

The Baboci family was all smiles as they toiled in the brush.

“We are very, very happy,” Teuta said while loading a truck. Her husband, Jimmy, was further back on the lot, tearing out tree roots.

The Baboci family has lived in Townsend since they came to America eight years ago. They left their native Albania to realize the American dream.

Habitat chose them for one of the houses, after a careful screening process.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the project should contact Habitat for Humanity at their new e-mail address: Regular mail may be sent to P.O. Box 90, Townsend, MA 01469.

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