Churches ready for 'Impact Taylor County'

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By Calen McKinney

The goal is simple — one person, changing one life, in one day.

Those looking for a way to give back to the community are in luck. An effort is in the works to “Impact Taylor County.”

The second annual event, organized by local United Methodist churches, will have a grove of volunteers doing random acts of kindness and performing service projects around the county on April 27, from small home repairs to food drives and clothing giveaways.

There will also be volunteers visiting nursing homes, hosting job and recycling workshops and much more.

The Rev. Ron Young of First United Methodist Church, one of the organizers of the day, said the idea for Impact Taylor County began at the Methodist Church general conference gathering.

In the 21st century, he said, church leaders say people need to “rethink” the meaning of church.

“What happens when the church leaves the building?” he said. “So, Impact Taylor County is an opportunity for the church to engage in the community.

“It’s for people to step out and help people in the community.”

Impact Taylor County is set for Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A celebration service at FUMC will kick off the day’s events. After the day has concluded, FUMC will host a free fish fry dinner for the first 1,000 people. At 6 p.m., Driven will perform music and pastors will share the impact of the day’s events.

During the day, there are a variety of events planned.

“Each church is doing projects,” Young said.

He said the churches have identified needs in Taylor County and formed projects to help fulfill those needs.

FUMC will host a one-day vacation Bible school, coordinate the collection of care packages for local National Guard soldiers and host a blood drive.

Care packages should include nonperishable foods that are individually wrapped, personal care items, disposable cameras, long distance calling cards, playing cards, CDs, games, movies, magazines, shoe laces, brown T-shirts, puzzle books, note pads and ink pens, video games and books.

Cards of encouragement are also suggested. Contact FUMC for a complete list of accepted items.

St. Andrew United Methodist Church will coordinate the random acts of kindness, which will vary from performing yard work to collecting donations for the county’s pregnancy center and visiting nursing homes.

The pregnancy center is in need of diapers and wipes, baby shampoo, baby wash, baby lotion, diaper rash ointment, sleepers, blankets, onesies, crib sheets, pacifiers, bottles, sippy cups, bassinets, cribs and mattresses, gallon and quart bags and diaper bags.

Young says those who would like to request home repairs should call FUMC and a group of volunteers will visit the home before April 27 to ensure the repairs can be done and any equipment needed is available.

Two of the eligibility requirements for home repairs, Young said, are that those requesting the repairs must own and live in the home.

Young said the random acts of kindness will involve tasks such as cleaning gutters and working in flower beds. For example, he said, if an elderly person became ill and didn’t have the chance to clean up his or her yard, that’s where volunteers will step up.

“We can clean up their yard,” he said.

St. Mark United Methodist Church will coordinate home repairs and a food giveaway.

Camp Acton will host clothing and food basket giveaways and Mannsville United Methodist Church will host a health fair.

Hogards Chapel United Methodist Church will help teach about cooking and living on a budget.

A group of high school students will be at Taylor County Recycling Center to help residents learn about recycling.

Young said more than 300 volunteers participated in Impact Taylor County last year and several accepted God into their lives afterward.

“What happens when church leaves the building,” he said, “is that people become energized.”

After last year’s event, the group who organized the event took a break and then began fundraising last September. Young said money raised goes toward advertising.

This year’s Impact Taylor County has already garnered some impact, Young said.

Someone saw a flyer about the event and decided to become more active in church, he said, and a couple who received food last year during the event has donated food for this year’s. He said he doesn’t believe the success of this year’s event should be compared to the success of last year’s.

“If we only had one project, it was gonna be successful,” he said. “This is just a gift to Taylor County because we love you.”

This Sunday, Young said, those who are going to volunteer with Impact Taylor County will gather at FUMC at 7 p.m. to discuss the day’s projects.

To sign up for Impact Taylor County, visit www.impacttaylorcounty.org or call FUMC at 465-5951.