As fate would have it, the fourth-annual Belmont Serves and the final building day for the new Joey's Park will happen to fall on the same day: Monday, Oct. 14.
"I think the most important thing this year is that we are co-incidental with the building of Joey's Park," said John Robotham, the treasurer of the Belmont Religious Council, the town's interfaith council that sponsors Belmont Serves.
On that day, The Friend's of Joey's Park will be completing a year's worth of planning and fundraising to create a new up-to-date playground on the original Park which was temporarily closed in 2011 by town officials due to its dilapidated condition. That effort alone will require hundreds of volunteers.
It is also the morning of the yearly Belmont Services which brings the religious community and residents together to offer themselves in a day of community service including painting, cleaning-up areas around town and even quilt making.
Belmont Serves has also become the single, biggest day for the Belmont Food Pantry. Last year, volunteers collected more than 2,000 bags of groceries for the pantry which helps serve those in needs over the coming holidays and through the winter.
"They are really counting on us as their needs continue to grow," Robotham told the Belmont Board of Selectmen last week.
But in an example of helping one's neighbors to help themselves, the organizations will be marshaling their supporters "in a unified plan" said Robotham, that will benefit both causes.
"We see it now as a community service weekend in Belmont," said Robotham.
In fact, the idea of Joey's Park and Belmont Serves joining forces was first discussed a year ago this month, recalled Friend of Joey's Park co-president Ellen Schreiber to Belmont Patch.
"Last year, John stopped by our table at Meet Belmont ... [and] asked if we had any community service projects on Joey’s Park that could be part of (last year's) Belmont Serves," said Schreiber, but there was nothing at the time.
However, Schreiber's group remembered Belmont Serves when they were scheduling the Joey’s Park build.
"We knew that we wanted to do the build in October, and taking advantage of the three-day [Columbus Day] weekend made sense. The clencher was knowing that Belmont Serves was Monday, October 14. The synergy was clear; the convergence intentional," she said.
With the need for a large number of volunteers to help finish the new park on the Monday, the Joey's Park build will benefit from the hundreds of residents who have circled Belmont Serves on their calendars.
"It allows for our two organizations to join in service," said Robotham.
It will mean there will be some major changes at this year's Belmont Serve, the most important is where the volunteers will start their day.
Rather than the traditional sending-off site of St. Joseph's Church on Common Street, the volunteers will gather at the Winn Brook Elementary School, adjacent to the Joey's Park site.
There, Belmont Serve participants over the age of 14 will be given the opportunity to join the Joey's Park volunteers in the final push in their weekend-long "community barn raising" in which the play structure is being completed under professional supervision, Schreiber said in the past.
"Many who come to Belmont Serves are families with younger children so we see one parent working at the park while the other serves around town including picking up food bags throughout Belmont," said Robotham.
In addition, while the Belmont Serves volunteers will finish their day at 1 p.m., everyone will come back to the Winn Brook for a combined celebration with the completion of the new Joey's Park around 4 p.m., he said.
"I think this is a win-win for both organizations. Belmont Serves has volunteers and needs projects; we have a project and need volunteers," said Schreiber.
"Belmont Serves is an amazing community service project with a long history; we will be focusing lots of attention this fall on community service during the lead up to the community build," she said.