Nick Neamonitis, of Fraser, and others work on the old St. Alexander’s parish property at 27835 Shiawassee Road in Farmington Hills, which houses a number of nonprofit organizations, May 10.

Nick Neamonitis, of Fraser, and others work on the old St. Alexander’s parish property at 27835 Shiawassee Road in Farmington Hills, which houses a number of nonprofit organizations, May 10.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Volunteers restore old church property for community groups in Farmington Hills

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published May 15, 2018

 Stephanie Janiga, of Northville, plants flowers at the property.

Stephanie Janiga, of Northville, plants flowers at the property.

Photo by Deb Jacques

FARMINGTON HILLS — If you think you’ve heard only bad news lately, look around you. Some good things are happening right in your backyard.

During the second annual RED Day event, local business representatives, community organizers and individuals volunteered their time May 10 at the old St. Alexander’s parish property, 27835 Shiawassee Road.

The former parish is home to Community Action Resources Empowerment Services (CARES) of Farmington Hills, Rebuilding Together Oakland County, Another Day Resource Center and more. 

Volunteers worked between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. that day to restore the 10.5 acres of property that is being reused as a type of community campus for outreach groups in Farmington, Farmington Hills, Livonia and Southfield, a press release states.  

More than 100 Keller Williams real estate agents and 100 Home Depot staff members, along with other volunteers, worked indoors and outdoors, even on the roof. 

Farmington Hills Youth and Family Services Director Todd Lipa said a fence came down, a new walking path went in and a prayer garden was added.

Annette Compo, a real estate broker for Keller Williams Realty, said the day is about donating to help others help themselves.

“We … donate time, energy,” she said. “A whole group of people ... came together to support CARES and have their property ready for the community to use in leverage as a resource,” Compo said. “The neat thing is this property is for the community. … People can come back and volunteer and be a part of the food pantry.”

Lipa added that the grounds had been in “disarray,” and this year’s renovations are just what was needed.

“This year we’re just enhancing the entire property,” he said.

On the second Thursday of each May, tens of thousands of Keller Williams Realty representatives across the United States and Canada help with renovation and revitalization projects for RED Day.

Keith Lenton, the Home Depot merchandising assistant manager at the 32525 Northwestern Highway store, said that he and his volunteers did light landscaping and more.

“Just ultimately beautifying this campus,” he said. “It is an awesome thing to be involved in.”

Lenton added that Lipa reached out to him and another employee to help out with the project.

The Home Depot, which also included involvement from other metro Detroit stores, brought out some manpower and gave CARES a $5,000 grant.

“I think that CARES of Farmington (Hills) is doing a phenomenal, phenomenal job of giving back to needy families here in this community as far as clothing, resources, food, pantry (items), on this 10-acre campus,” he said.

Lipa, who was a parishioner at the former church as a child, is now overseeing outreach projects on its former grounds.

“We’re just proud to be a part of it,” Lipa said. “We’re just thankful to be a part of it.”

For more information, go to caresfh.org.