This weekend, I had the opportunity to serve in our city on two different projects. On Friday, the staff from Metro Government departments gathered at the California Community Center and participated in the monthly Building Our Blocks campaign. This collaborative effort reaches out to one neighborhood each month where we go door-to-door providing services to folks anywhere from checking/installing smoke detectors, signing up for a library card, scheduling appointments for W.I.C. (Women, Infants, and Children Food Service Program), testing for LEAD paint and much more.
Typically, when people think of this particular neighborhood, a negative connotation comes to mind being in the “rough” part of town. Yet, as I was walking with my group and providing services, this stigma was broken because you cannot imagine how much listening to a person talk for five minutes can make a difference. One blessed moment was with an older lady who needed a library card, and another team talking to her hollered across the street to me so I can run an application for her to fill out and hand her a new card on the spot. The power in just talking to this lady while giving a library card moved me with God’s love.
Then on Saturday, 100+ folks gathered together at Meyzeek Middle School to build beds for children with the annual AmeriCorps Build a Bed project, in part with Mayor Fischer’s Give a Day program.
It is a powerful and healing moment to see people gathered in a gym to build beds for students in JCPS who do not have a bed. Hearing the conversations amongst people sharing stories of a family of two, four, or eight not having but one bed, if that to sleep on. Knowing each one of the one hundred beds we made in three hours were going to a good home.
I led a team of five volunteers from Home Depot who built five beds and every time we or another group finished a bed, there would be a cowbell rung to announce another bed is finished. In the past three years, it usually took over three hours to make all the beds yet this year the love and compassion in making a different for JCPS students spread like wildfire in finishing the “Build” in record time. All the lumber for the beds along with bed sheets, books, toothbrush, pajamas, pillows, and other essentials were donated from folks in our city.
As a member of Highland, I have a call to service and reaching out to other folks in our community aside from our congregation. So, step out, get involved in the plethora of activities in our community, and share the love. Share the love that Christ has inspired within each of you. Who knows? You may be able to connect with new people to keep in touch with you had never known.