GREENFIELD — Twelve large trash bags were bunched in a couple of rows by the curb.

A few yards away, men from several local churches used rakes and shovels to clear leaf debris and last year’s hardened crust of mulch away from flowerbeds on the Hancock County Courthouse Plaza.

“(We want to) show people there are hands and feet to our faith,” said Ralph Berthiaume, one of the volunteers. “Projects like this allow us to show the part of our faith we want people to see.”

He was one of 50 to 60 men from Realife Church, Park Chapel Christian Church and Brandywine Community Church who worked at various community projects around Greenfield on Saturday morning. His team said a man from a fourth church heard about the plans and showed up for a work assignment as well.

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The morning began with a time of worship at Realife. From there, smaller teams went to their work assignments before gathering at Brandywine for lunch. Group prayers for the city and for Sunday’s Easter services were also part of the morning.

As he raked a plaza plant bed, John Swails said the team’s work was meant to leave beds ready for planting, saving city crews hours of labor.

While his group labored there, others cleaned out planters along downtown sidewalks. Other teams attended to landscaping at Greenfield-Central High School, painting at Weston Elementary School and spruce-up work at each of the three churches.

Weston Principal Shane Bryant said painting the fading lavender stripe lining school hallways has been a project his staff has worked on from time to time as possible. One of Saturday’s work teams completed a long hallway and turned the corner.

“The staff has been ecstatic because now it is Cougar blue,” he told the volunteers.

One of the painters, Randy Ballinger, was a student at Weston as a child. He remembers playing football with the neighborhood children in a field west of the school and was pleased his work assignment turned out to be there.

“I just wanted to get out and help the community and spread a little love,” he said.

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Anne Smith is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at