South Charlotte

Town gets spruced up, thanks to church helpers

It's always tricky writing about an event that happens after our copy deadline, but when it involves more than 1,000 people from one of the area's largest churches and up to 10,000 hours of volunteer time, it's worth taking a chance.

Saturday a unique partnership came to fruition as the town of Matthews and Carmel Baptist Church joined forces to do some amazing things – in just one day.

If you were driving through town or perhaps visiting one of the parks, you probably saw folks in green shirts proclaiming “Matthews Matters.”

And these folks weren't just wearing the shirts, they were putting action behind the words.

Over 1,100 volunteers from Carmel Baptist Church fanned out across Matthews to build, repair and spruce up the town's parks and Matthews Elementary School.

They added playground equipment, benches and landscaping to Windsor Park.

They built pathways and landscaped around the Community Garden and adjoining Pocket Park.

They constructed pathways in the area between the railroad tracks and West Charles Street. They cleared out weeds and undergrowth.

They cleaned habitat beds, worked on walking trails, and repaired and replaced bird houses in Squirrel Lake Park.

They planted trees and shrubs and created a new entranceway to Sardis Park.

They worked on landscaping around the Matthews Community Center and painted and mulched at Matthews Elementary School.

They worked much of the day, building, painting, cleaning, raking, mulching, trimming and installing.

They did all this because, they say, Matthews is their home and it really does Matter.

“We're committed to missions. Jesus tells us to serve everywhere in the world, beginning with our own neighborhood. He also tells us to love our neighbor,” said Dr. Wayne Poplin, senior pastor at Carmel Baptist.

“Matthews is our community. They've been great friends ever since we moved here and we want to tell them thank you. There are needs here and we want to help meet those needs. We want to serve our neighbors.”

In addition to the thousands of hours of labor, the church also donated $30,000 towards the project, which was used to buy materials and supplies.

Matthews Mayor Lee Myers said, “This is what makes Matthews such as wonderful place. We received a phone call that members of Carmel Baptist Church wanted to do something special for the people of Matthews. Their hard work in our parks will benefit everyone in this town.”

Carmel Baptist Church began in the mid 1960s at Sharon View and Carmel Road. They moved to their current site in Matthews in 1997. The church has about 4,000 members.

Melinda Johnston writes about people, places and happenings in Matthew and Mint Hill. Contact her at mjohnston@charlotteobserver.com.

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