Thousands of volunteers serve at ForColumbia in April.
By Kristin Blake
With over 2,000 volunteers from 54 local churches, ForColumbia sprawled across the city on April 27. From cleaning to building, these groups served over 85 sites in the area, including local nonprofits, four Columbia public schools, and three city parks.
Dennis Lugo, executive pastor at Redemption’s Hill Church, helped tend to the gardens at West Middle School.
Along with the other 50 to 60 volunteers, he helped dig up weeds, lay down mulch, and replant the garden. Since the school is basically in his backyard, and he sees students walk by his house every day, he was even more excited to serve.
“You could always give your money to international efforts or greater national efforts as far as communities that are at risk,” he says, “but it’s cool to see how things are in your own neighborhood and to be part of the change.”
After 40 years of living in Columbia, Tim Davis set foot in Hickman High School for the first time this year at ForColumbia. Over lunch catered by Lutz’s BBQ, he chatted with a man who’d graduated from the school years ago.
“It is such fun to work shoulder-to-shoulder with people who are excited to serve others,” TIm says. “I got to know some new, great people who are willing to work hard for people they very likely will never know.”
Tim’s job at Hickman was to clean and organize a sports equipment room. The group built three rolling jersey cabinets from scratch with the help of carpenters and organizers. “When it was done, there was a place for everything and (most) everything was in its place,” he says.
Kristin Gadsden learned how much equipment it takes to run a high school sports program when she and her son worked alongside Tim at Hickman. She grew up in central Missouri, and this is her family’s third year participating in ForColumbia through Christian Fellowship Church.
“It’s too easy in the full schedules of our daily lives to miss taking notice of those around us and the needs they may have,” she says. “ForColumbia practically hands you those opportunities to really see people in our city and step into places to serve them.”