Kindle shines light through Flint Hill

Apr. 10, 2014 @ 09:00 PM

Members of the Kindle Outreach ministry were tired of hearing people criticize their community without attempting to make it better.

Mike Breedlove of the Clearview Baptist Church and members of his congregation helped spearhead a volunteer effort to reduce blight in Henderson.

“Basically, a group from my church got to talking about it and praying about it, and we felt like we ought to go in and do something positive, rather than being negative about the town we live in,” Breedlove said.

Breedlove said Kindle was made possible by many volunteers from Clearview.

“There’s no way one person could have taken on the task that we have accomplished,” he said.

The task Kindle adopted was to improve the neglected Flint Hill neighborhood.

“It felt like a burden from God just laid on my heart to get out in the inner city,” Breedlove said. “And this was an area when all of this started out, there was a lot of crime going on there.”

Since Kindle started last April, volunteers have boarded more than 20 vacant houses in Flint Hill. They have also cut grass on overgrown lawns and removed weeds to improve the overall appearance of the neighborhood.

The group has tried to make the plywood boards as secure as possible by using five star bit screws and reinforcements on the inside of the home.

“Most of these properties that are abandoned, we are kind of just a Band-Aid for right now,” Breedlove said.

He said they hope to demolish the inhabitable homes with the help of the city.

“Instead of having broken glass and kicked in doors, we painted and put plywood that people from our church donated just to try and make it look a little bit better,” Breedlove said.

Securing the vacant properties also prevents drug use and other criminal activity from taking place inside.

Josh Townes, also a Kindle volunteer, said he didn’t know what to expect the first time they went to Flint Hill.

“We pretty much just walked into the neighborhood unannounced and started cutting grass and weed-eating,” he said.

Now, he says, residents recognize and embrace the Kindle volunteers.

“They have been very welcoming and appreciative,” he said.

The group has spray-painted Kindle’s name and its insignia, a flame, on buildings they boarded up.

“So, when people would come by and see that, they would see that were are trying to help and be a light in the community,” Townes said.

 

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.