The idea was simple: Find a list of projects that need to be done in order to help out people around the community, then complete them. That was the goal for Athens First United Methodist Church during its Missions 144 campaign last week.
While putting everything together proved more difficult, showing love for their neighbors was the goal behind the effort. Whether it was cleaning gutters, raking leaves or providing warm showers, clothes and food for the homeless, no task the church could complete was too big or small.
According to church member Bill Dunnavant, who helped organize the Missions 144 campaign, Athens FUMC members and other volunteers completed 66 service projects from Nov. 9-14. That includes building five wheelchair ramps and 50 beds for local children who need them, as well as a food drive that filled a 25-foot trailer to capacity.
“We did big and little projects, a combination of whatever was needed at the time,” Dunnavant said. “We did projects at 38 different locations throughout the week. We had close to 100 people from our church and others who volunteered.”
Some of the smaller projects included painting a porch and fixing plumbing, while some of the larger projects, other than those already mentioned, included building sensory rooms to aid students on the autism spectrum at East Limestone High and Creekside Elementary. Dunnavant said those two rooms are the first in the county schools system.
The biggest project handled during Missions 144 was building the 50 beds for children. Dunnavant said around 35 volunteers spent three hours helping to put them together Saturday.
“They will all benefit local people,” he said. "There are groups that have these systems where they bring in supplies and you work in stations. You don't have to know how to build a bed; you just have to make a cut or put in some screws. It's like an assembly line.”
Dunnavant said a group of ladies at Athens FUMC worked to put together small, simple bouquets of flowers with message cards that were given to each person aided by one of the church's projects.
“I think there was a tremendous feeling of helping others and showing God's love that everybody had,” Dunnavant said. “All I've heard is good things from volunteers and the people we helped. We have heard so much bad news this year. We wanted to do some good.”
Pastor Kenny Baskins said the church got the “144” portion of the campaign's name from two sources: the "1" from the "First" in Athens First United Methodist Church, and the "44" because Limestone County is county number 44 on Alabama license plates.
While nothing is set in stone, Dunnavant said there are people in the church that want to put together another service project campaign in the future, and some who would like to host more than one a year.
“It is up to our leadership at the church,” he said.