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Updated Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 3 PM EST
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 JANET DeMARTELAERE ROCCO TENAGLIA
BUFORD HERRONELIZABETH REIBER
GARY VETTRAINOGIOVANNINA WESOLOWSKI
MARY SULLIVANPHILIP KITTELL JR.
SHERRI LEWINSKITHOMAS AVEREYN
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Posted: 05/07/14



COMMUNITY CARE

On April 26, around 130 volunteers working with the OneMacomb program visited Amanda Moore Elementary to clean up the entire grounds in the first part of four community outreach efforts to be held in the coming months. Above, a group of volunteers work to spruce up the raised garden beds in Amanda Moore Elementary's outdoor science center. At right, volunteers clean up around a shed found in the science center. Below, volunteers from various local churches work to clean flowerbeds. The volunteers are also assisting residents near the school with home repairs and prayers. Volunteers are welcome to join in future events held in May, June and August. The next clean-up event will take place May 17. OneMacomb was formed by Macomb County churches, with those north of Hall Road working out plans to clean Amanda Moore Elementary and its community for the past year.

(Photos courtesy of Jon Waters)

Local churches team up to clean Amanda Moore

Volunteers to return this month to plant flowers, spruce up neighborhood

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      Inviting 130 over would normally result in a mess to clean up, but the opposite outcome took place at a local elementary school on April 26.
       Volunteers from local churches descended upon Amanda Moore Elementary for a spring cleaning of its grounds as part of a four-month effort to improve the school and its surrounding neighborhood.
       The volunteer group, OneMacomb Community Network, is made up of churches from around Macomb County. In particular, churches representing the northern half of the county which came together a year ago to select a school to spruce up.
       Pastor Jon Waters of the River of God Community Church in Romeo said OneMacomb began through the Everyone a Chance to Hear (EACH) outreach program, which connects hundreds of churches throughout the Detroit area with the goal of personal and community service.
       "Being a part of this community is more than just having a church building in the town and people show up on Sunday, we want to be actively involved with the community," he said.
       The criteria for choosing the school included having a church close to the location, if the church's pastor has a relationship with the community or school and if the need was there. Waters said given that his church has worked with Amanda Moore since September with acts of kindness, it seemed like a good fit.
       "It does take more money to be able to care for the property, and they just don't have the funds to be able to do it," he said.
       Volunteers gathered at 9 a.m. and split into groups to tackle the project, taking on the school's outdoor science center, garden beds, certified butterfly garden and its playground. Gardens were weeded and raked, plants trimmed and every scrap of litter picked up.
       Even striping for a parking lot and basketball court was redone by Statewide Striping and Asphault at no cost.
       The coalition worked until noon, stopping for a lunch break at Romeo United Methodist Church. A group of volunteers returned to finish up the school grounds, while others went into the community to visit with residents.
       "They were going door-to-door telling people about what we were doing and asking folks what we could repair or fix," Waters said. "As a Christian community we were also asking them `is there anything we can pray for you about.'"
       Amanda Moore Principal Roger Bennett said the transformation from winter-beaten gardens to clean grounds was tremendous, saying the amount of work accomplished was staggering.
       "It was weeks and week's worth of work done in three hours," Bennett said. "It was an amazing effort from people all over the community."
      
Future events

       OneMacomb will return on May 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. to finish any cleaning and begin the planting process in the school's science center, including the use of flowers donated from the Eastern Market in Detroit.
       Waters said applications for home repairs submitted by residents to Amanda Moore, along with those they spoke with on April 26, will be addressed with the help of Promise Keepers Construction. A barbecue will be held to thank the volunteers.
       OneMacomb's June 16-20 event will head to the interior of Amanda Moore to renovate the teacher's lounge with paint and furniture as a way of thanking the teachers for their hard work.
       "That'll be nice, especially since it's in its original form from 1971," Bennett said with a laugh.
       OneMacomb's efforts will conclude with a back-to-school celebration at Amanda Moore on Aug. 23 with music, food and games. The celebration will also provide school supplies to students.
       Churches that are participating include: River of God, Romeo United Methodist, Grace Lutheran Fellowship, Romeo First Church of God, Orchard Community, Momentum, Shepherd's Gate Lutheran, Macomb Christian, St. Clement of Rome and Orchard Ridge.
       Waters said anyone who wants to volunteer or contribute, whether it's materials or monetary donations, are welcomed by OneMacomb.
       For more information or to volunteer, call River of God at (586) 752-2998 or visit www.onemacomb.org.
      


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