By Donna Thornton/News Editor
Impact Gadsden grew from a desire to reach out to the community, Sheila Freeman, discipleship and children’s ministry director at First United Methodist Church of Gadsden, said.
“We had wanted to put together a day of outreach and service to the community,” she said. It’s an idea that has grown beyond anything Freeman and FUM Senior Pastor Harvey Beck envisioned.
They are preparing now for a day of hundreds of volunteers joining forces to serve others that should truly, as the names suggests, have an impact on Gadsden.
Along with First United Methodist Church of Gadsden, Sweet Home Methodist Church, East Gadsden Methodist Church and Alabama City United Methodist Church will act as host churches for the May 18 day of service.
But volunteers from many other churches have already registered online to help with the effort, which will include work at the eight elementary schools in Gadsden, sorting and packing of food in a backpack program to help provide nutritious food to children who receive free or reduced lunches at school but might not have enough food at home during the weekends, painting projects in some homes identified by the City of Gadsden, writing Caring Cards for nursing home residents, shut-ins or detention center inmates and other projects.
“It’s really an invitation to the community to come out and work in the community,” Freeman said.
As part of the project, food items are being collected for the backpack program, and toiletries are being collected for a hygiene project to assist detention center inmates.
For anyone who wants to volunteer, the best way to do so is to visit impactgadsden.org. Beck said registering online is simple and makes the work of those organizing the projects easier.
“This is an opportunity to witness by doing,” Beck said. He said “go, be, do” is one the operating principals of the church, and the day of service is a way to fulfill it.
“We hope to pull in people who otherwise might not come into a church,” Beck said, as volunteers and as those who are touched by this ministry in action.
The day of service is planned for the day before the day of Pentecost – the beginning of the Christian Church, Beck noted.
Freeman said there are projects to fit the abilities and preferences of people of all ages. There are inside projects and work to be done out-of-doors.
When registering online, she said, there are notations that people must be 18. But Freeman said parents can register their children.
For more information or to register, visit impactgadsden.org or look for the Impact Gadsden 2013 Facebook page.