Serving Their Neighbors

Sept. 30 has been set aside as “Day in the City,” when members of Memorial Road Church of Christ will focus on serving others.

This is the fifth year church members have helped the community in this way. Four years ago, Memorial Road Church conducted an interview and found that many people who lived or worked near the church were not even aware of its existence, so the congregation decided to do something for the community.

“The purpose of the ‘Day in the City’ is to share the love of God with the community,” said Micah Hobbs, the community outreach leader from Memorial Road Church of Christ. “We want people to know that we are not just a building with four walls. We want to show people we do care.”

The “Day in the City” program has expanded this year. Edmond and Westwood Churches of Christ will participate for the first time. Six other Churches of Christ from Oklahoma City also will participate. Each congregation has a contact leader and has been asked to find at least five projects in its immediate area. Then members from these churches will work together to show their community they care.

“This is a day where I can serve people I have never met. I’m doing this because I love them and want them to have a relationship with God,” Hobbs said. “Many people we serve are down and out. And they respond positively.”
Every year, “Day in the City” has 15-20 projects that range from painting homes for low-income families to helping elementary schools with maintenance, upgrade and repairs. “We can get a lot done in a small amount of time,” Hobbs said.

Some projects last year included Traveler’s Aid, an agency that supplies temporary housing for lower income families or those trying to get on their feet. “Day in the City” volunteers painted the interior home of a family who evacuated from the New Orleans area.

For an Edmond Parks Department project, about 150 volunteers dragged downed timber from Hafer Park to a central location where a dump truck hauled it off. Volunteers worked with a Christian Services Maternity Home cleaning outside brush, then had a brush fire with the fire marshal present. They also painted a shed and spread new gravel. For several years, volunteers have helped at KIPP School (Knowledge in Power Program) Reach College Preparatory School, a charter school for kids who need tough love and direction for a better future. Along with school staff, volunteers cleared an interior courtyard, restriped the parking lot and cleaned the yard.

This year, Terry Humphrey from the Neighborhood Initiative Program will help coordinate projects in part of the Edmond area. This new volunteer program helps local residents such as elderly people, single-parent families or those with disabilities to bring their residential property up to city standards. Humphrey is also the City of Edmond code enforcement officer. “We’re glad to partner with those who are community-minded, whether it is a church or other organization,” he said.

People in need have to go through a screening process and there are certain criteria to meet. For some, the help from volunteers is the only alternative they have to paying fines or going to court. They may be without the financial or physical means to do yard work or house repairs, making it impossible to meet strict city codes.

“Day in the City” is one of the biggest volunteer days of the year. Last year, about 500 people participated and Hobbs hopes this year to have several thousand people out raking yards and painting fences. “You don’t have to be a member of our congregation to help out,” he said.

If you would like to participate with time, funds or material, contact Micah Hobbs at Memorial Road Church of Christ, 607-6417.
Terry Humphrey can be reached at 359-4793.

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