For United Way of Greater Chattanooga’s Day of Caring a group of amazing people bestowed their good will upon East Chattanooga and the result was nothing short of magical.  The folks were none other than the Chattanooga Rugby Club.  A muscle bound group of jocks on the outside with bleeding hearts pumping nothing but love on the inside.  The team brought all their comradery and community spirit with them to Glass St. that day, and helped transform the visual character of the neighborhood and numerous lives along with it.

The team was tasked with transforming 4 residents’ homes and 6 public spaces with simple landscaping improvements.  And they showed up to work.  At 9:00 a.m. that Saturday morning pick-up trucks full of wheel barrows, weed eaters, chainsaws, rakes, and other goodies began filling up Glass St. And the characters piling out of the trucks did not disappoint.  As they gathered at Rondell Crier’s Studio Everything to enjoy breakfast from the Glass St. Breakfast and Lunch House it became clear that they meant business.  They weren’t just checking a service learning requirement off a list, they wanted to know where they were, why they were there, and most importantly, who they were helping.  They were there for all the right reasons.  They knew they were playing a part in a much larger whole.

After breakfast we split into two groups.  One group took tools of destruction and began clearing the public space sites in preparation for Glass House Collective’s Gospel on Glass concert.  The other crew began working on the residential sites.  That is where the heart of the day took place.  The Glass Street area has a high concentration of elderly people living on fixed incomes who don’t have the resources or physical capability to care for their lawns.  And it was these folks whom we were there to help.  Not only did we clear over growth from their yards but we planted a Maple tree, Stove Pipe Junipers, Boxwoods, Nadinas, Clematises, Canna Lilies, and Monkey Grass, while also pressure washing their sidewalks and awnings and painting posts and front door steps.  It is amazing what a difference was made.

Glass House Collective will continue this work in 2016 thanks to a generous grant from the Benwood Foudation.  We can’t wait to see the transformation that will take place!

Please visit this album for before and after pictures.