By: Joanie Cox-Henry Contributing Writer
The grass just got a lot greener beside New Jerusalem Church of God In Christ in Delray Beach.
Community Greening, a Delray Beach-based organization dedicated to planting trees to improve the environment for people and nature, received the TD Tree Days grant for the second year in a row.
On Oct. 16, dozens of Community Greening volunteers as well as local TD Bank employees grabbed shovels and gloves to dig deeper to plant 100 native trees around the retention area in The Set next to the New Jerusalem Church.
“This is our fourth time working with TD Bank,” said Community Greening Co-Founder Mark Cassini. “There were no trees in this area before. This area where we’re planting, The Set, has an 18 percent tree canopy, which is very low. The goal of TD Bank is to increase tree count in low income areas.”
Delray Beach Mayor Shelly Petrolia was pleased to see more trees getting planted in her city.
“Trees really help protect us,” Petrolia said. “TD Bank could’ve gone anywhere to plant these trees and the fact that they chose Delray Beach says a lot.”
Joe Scondotto, vice president of TD Bank in Delray on Southeast Fifth Avenue, was excited to be collaborating with Community Greening again.
“We’re very proud to be involved with Mark [Cassini] and Matt [Shipley],” Scondotto said. “A lot of employees come out to plant for this and everybody enjoys being outside and doing something to make the community more beautiful.
CRA’s West Atlantic Redevelopment Director Kristyn Cox thanked Community Greening and TD Bank for their commitment to Delray Beach.
“It’s all part of the transformation plan for this neighborhood,” Cox said. “And the people in this community want this. So we’re not just doing it for the community—we’re doing it with them.”
TD Bank will plant 900 trees in various cities across America by the end of this year through its TD Tree Days program.
“This is our 19th tree planting event from Maine to Florida,” said TD Bank Vice President Andre Kahn. “TD Bank prides itself on supporting the communities we serve and this is one way of giving back.”
Aguillard Sanchez, the deacon of New Jerusalem Church of God In Christ is thrilled to have the trees beautifying the property of their parish.
“We’ve had storm damage and this is a new beginning for New Jerusalem Church,” Sanchez said. “Having these trees planted here means a lot. It’s getting better here and that’s what we need right now.”
Church elder Horace Brown, who helped build the church several decades ago, feels the trees will enlighten the grounds of the church.
“Beautification of the church and its grounds is important,” Brown said. “Our prayers are being answered everyday. We’re very thankful to have these trees.”