BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A group of volunteers from Harmony Bible Church spent a sweaty morning helping with Fort Madison beautification efforts.
The group darted around the alley from 6th to 10th streets between Avenues F and G for about four hours on a very warm Saturday morning.
Kids and adult volunteers of all ages were pulling weeds, and repainting the 6-foot white walls that were once painted in the alley to help deter vandalism.
Removing overgrown brush and cleaning up litter and debris were also part of the day’s work.
Andrew Wiese, the Fort Madison Campus Pastor for Harmony Bible, led the group of about 20 volunteers and said it was part of church group’s outreach effort with Fort Madison.
“We were talking with (Fort Madison Partner’s Director) Tim Gobble and asking how we could serve the city and help, and he said this was a project on the beautification committee’s list. He said we could tackle that for them,” Wiese said.
“He came up with the idea of what to do and what to paint, and we said “We’re the hands.”
Church member Dana Huppert was working in the 600 block with her husband Billy and son Jace. The family was trimming weeds and raking along the alley
“I believe God has called us to serve, and serve our community. I think the church was reaching out to people around town to see what we could do for them.”
Wiese said the church is also working in conjunction with City Hope Foundation, a Burlington organization with the mission of bringing religious and non-religious organizations together to focus on the needs of area cities.
“It’s a new non profit that works with churches and other non-religious groups to focus on needs of area cities. There are some areas they are going to focus on as well,” Wiese said.
“Matt Shinn is the director of that group. Our church is working in partnership with them tackling different projects in the areas that we have.”
He said the two groups have coordinated projects in Burlington, Danville and Mt. Pleasant.
About 15 people worked started at 8 a.m. and worked until noon on the downtown alley way.
The Fort Madison Beautification Committee has been working on projects throughout town as well, including enhancing the pocket park in downtown Fort Madison. The new park has a new pergola, wifi access and new landscaping.
The group is also doing weekend litter cleanups in different areas of town. On Saturday they were working to clean up litter in several city parks.