President Peggie Weeks
May 2, 2017 5:42 p.m.
The Northeast Florida Community Action Agency (NFCAA), Compassionate Fernandina, and over 30 community volunteers joined forces on Saturday to plant shrubs and flowers on a city block near Southside Elementary School.
The project grew out of conversations among Compassionate Fernandina, NFCAA, and City Manager Dale Martin. Mr. Martin had written a column last year in which he shared his vision for an ongoing series of community service projects. Christine W. Raysor, manager at NFCAA, had the initial idea for the Beautification Project and presented it to the members of Compassionate Fernandina a few months ago.
The group decided to start small, as this was an inaugural effort, and the organizers wanted it to succeed. The decision was made to do plantings on a block on 11th Street between Jasmine and Kelp. Members of NFCAA went door to door, enlisting the support of the community who were enthusiastic about having their yards enhanced by plantings.
Liberty Landscape provided plants at a discounted price and delivered them free of charge. Starbucks, Harris Teeter, Chick-Fil-A, and Publix provided donations of coffee, food, and coupons. T-shirts emblazoned with “Unity in the Community” were delivered by P5 Productions and worn by volunteers at the event.
A dozen or so volunteers came out and worked earlier in the week to prepare the ground. Volunteers on Saturday included city employees, city commissioners (including Mayor Lentz and Tim Poynter), Compassionate Fernandina members and NFCAA staff, and members of the 11th Street community. A number of children from the community enthusiastically lent a helping hand. The event on Saturday drew people together who had never met and never had the opportunity to talk and learn about each other’s lives.
The organizers hope that this is the first of what will be many such projects in the community. One of the 11th Street neighbors is on a mission to create a community garden. There is little doubt that the compassionate members of our city will rally once again to help make that garden a reality.
Editor’s Note: A happy group of volunteers came together on Saturday to make our community and even better place to live. Volunteers, young and old, came from throughout our city, working along side residents to complete this worthwhile effort. You could feel the love. Our thanks to all those involved.