More than 100 volunteers from First Colony Church of Christ recently joined hands with local residents for “Four Corners Clean Sweep,” an effort to beautify the impoverished residential area known as Four Corners in Sugar Land. Four Corners is 2.8 square miles and home to about 700 families who live in aging, small-framed homes. Karl Eschbach, a former demographer for the State of Texas, said, “Four Corners has always been a multicultural mashup, its residents united by poverty.”
First Colony Church of Christ and the Four Corners residents have worked in tandem for the past several years to keep their neighborhood cleaned up and their community bonded with projects, programs and events funded by the local church and other business partners. Steve Harris, a local chiropractor with a keen eye for those in need, was the visionary behind such a joint venture. Harris says, “It’s important for our smaller communities within our larger community to build a bridge where we can work together, help one another and form relationships with people different than ourselves.”
In an effort to garner residential pride for their neighborhood, residents of Four Corners worked in advance to gather their excess bulky garbage then helped the volunteers as they filled more than 26 twenty-foot dumpsters and 30 truck/trailers with trash, which went directly to the local landfill. Over the course of the four years working on this annual project, a total of 161 twenty-foot dumpsters have been filled, equating to 8’ wide x 6’ tall x 32 football fields worth of bulky trash, plus more than 1,500 tires removed from the neighborhood.
Another goal of “Four Corners Clean Sweep” is to foster strong family ties, particularly with parents and their elementary-aged children. Fort Bend County Commissioner James Patterson solicited FBISD and the local YMCA to co-host a free family fair after the cleanup, and 460 people attended from Four Corners and participated in games and all sorts of activities. First Colony Church of Christ partnered with Sprint and Lupe Tortilla to generously sponsor complimentary lunches from Lupe Tortilla for almost 600 residents. Commissioner Patterson says, “We were thrilled with the turnout of families for the fair and lunch because this kind of event really does help form family bonds as well as strengthen a sense of community.” Patterson also held a groundbreaking ceremony for the beginning of construction of a municipal sewer system for the Four Corners community, which had previously been relying on septic tanks. “This was a good day for Four Corners,” says Patterson, “but it was also a good day for all of us out there. It was exciting to play a part in the installation of a new sewer system for Four Corners and also to see the community come together in such a united way.”
First Colony Church of Christ’s outreach minister Grant Wright, the liaison for the project, says, “Those volunteering were as blessed by the experience as the Four Corners’ residents. There’s something beautiful about seeing the Body of Christ from different walks of life join together in a shared work project to love God and love each other. In an era where we hear constant tragic news from all over the world, a community project such as this restores hope in life.”