Uphams Corner Shines in 2014 - Walgreens, City Life Church, Residents Help Out

Local residents, Walgreens employees and City Life Presbyterian Church members formed the Uphams Corner Shines version of Boston Shines on May 3, 2014.  Half the group cleaned the sidewalks and curbs in the business district while the others planted annuals and perennials in what has become a growing garden at the Pilgrim Church on Columbia Rd.  Post Shines time was almost like going into a bar for a drink but not quite.  The group gathered for a barbecue at the Nonquit Green.  After a couple hours hard work, the food sure tasted delicious.

Uphams Corner Shines
Members of the Street Team pose
with smiles and shovels in hand
Saturday, May 3, 2014, was the official Boston Shines day for Uphams Corner and by 1pm, most of the volunteers had arrived.  Max MacCarthy's Main Street office looked like Home Depot 's garden annex with dozens of pairs of gloves, garden and cleaning tools, a wheelbarrow and many annual and perennial plants.

The mulch had also been delivered but thank goodness not at the Main Street office. Volunteers came from City Life Church, Walgreens next to the Strand and Walgreens at Bowdoin-Geneva plus a few people from the community.

The more than 15 volunteers split up into two groups. "Who wants to plant flowers?"  Max's question got a 100% yes response especially in the face of the other alternative – cleaning sidewalks and streets. 

On reflection, City Life Church was gracious enough to take on the more onerous task of sidewalk and street cleaning headed up by Nancy Conrad while the remaining volunteers got their first choice of working in the Pilgrim Church garden under the direction of Max MacCarthy.

Report from the Street Team

This year, unlike years past, Hancock Street and Columbia Road were much cleaner than expected so the Street Team quickly arrived at Dudley Street.  Yes, it warranted a thorough cleaning especially removing a gazillion cigarette butts stuck between the bricks. The cleaning crew split into two groups, one on each side of Dudley Street and set up a friendly contest of who could clean the fastest. The North side group won and doubled around to meet the South side group at Monadnock Street around 3:30. 

Only a block down Dudley Street, a gentleman came up to us and asked if he could get a job. We answered him in Spanish saying we were all volunteers (voluntario) – no money.  He appeared disappointed but quickly changed his mind and stuck with us the whole time despite the fact that he uses a cane to walk. His name is Angel and he lives at Cushing Manor.  Like all the members of the Street Team, he was a real trooper.

Celebrate with a Barbecue

Heading back towards the Main Street office, we ran into the Garden Team waiting to have their pictures taken.  As if the garden work had inspired new levels of energy and excitement, they acted like a different group of people from the ones that had left the Main Street office not two hours earlier.  That's what planting does for the soul.

To thank everyone for their contributions, Max organized a barbecue at the Nonquit Green – hot dogs, hamburgers, cookies, soda, ice cream and great talk. From a hungry volunteer gobbling down a rarified burger, "The hamburgers and hot dogs, cooked under the direction of Chef MacCarthy, really hit the spot."

Uphams Corner Shines 2014
Street Team hard at work
Uphams Corner Shines 2014
Street Team member
posing with her broom

Uphams Corner Shines 2014
Garden Team
Notice how happy they are!!

Uphams Corner Shines 2014
Garden Team returning "the goods"

Uphams Corner Shines 2014
The last of the Celebrators at the Nonquit Green

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Posted: May 08, 2014    Nancy J Conrad