Inspired by the desire to give back to their community, Chaliise and Erick Nelson are working with New Hope Church to bring some life back into McVay Elementary’s lawn, even if that means starting from scratch.
“What are we doing this for again?” asked nine-year-old Wyatt Nelson, perched upon a cinder-block planter in front of McVay as Kurtis Silva and Jared Stahura made repairs to the planter, cementing blocks back into place one by one.
“Because we’re helping out and giving back, isn’t that cool?” replied Silva.
Working with New Hope Church as part of their Love Does program, the Nelsons, along with the help of Silva, Stahura and other volunteers, worked in the hot sun on Saturday, July 6, tearing apart the existing worn-out planters and repairing them to make them last longer.
“They call, and we provide.” Chaliise told the Williston Herald.
As part of a beautification project at the school, the Nelsons are giving McVay’s lawn a face-lift, which requires that they kill off the existing lawn, which Nelson says is mainly crabgrass and clover, tilling up the entire area, and starting from square one.
“The best way to attack this is from the ground up,” Chaliise explained. “So we just want to clear this out, kill it and start over.”
With the help of ProSafe Services in Williston, the Nelson’s are doing just that. ProSafe will kill the existing lawn, and the Nelsons will dig it up and re-seed it, giving the school a fresh new lawn in just a matter of weeks. While they wait for the lawn to die off, the volunteers saw that repairs were needed for the schools planters, which the group will rebuild and repaint.
The Nelsons are one of many groups of volunteers that works through New Hope to assist in various projects around the community. Recently, another Love Does project was done at Wilkinson Elementary, where volunteers gave the school’s hallways a much need coat of fresh paint. Chaliise said she and Erick have been a part of New Hope for about eight years, and have participated in many Love Does projects during that time.
“Any time there’s a need within the community, we try to accommodate.” she said.
The projects are typically done as part of Love Does Week, which took place at the end of May. Julie Skurdal, Community Outreach Coordinator for New Hope, said the program has expanded from the week-long event to now include the first Saturday of each month. With so many needs in the community, Skurdal said, the church has always encouraged its members to give back to their neighbors.
“We just want to give irrationally to the community,” she explained. “Just give back to them and let them know that they can count on New Hope and that if there’s a need we’re going to do our best to take care of it. We want to be more than just the big church that’s on the corner; we want them to know our people and know that our people care. We just want to help wherever we can.”