EASLEY — More than 800 people from 5 Point Church volunteered 2,100 hours during what they call Love Week and believe they see potential for the experience spreading.
Lawson Clary, the Easley church’s executive pastor, said the first-year project exceeded goals.
“We thought we were really challenging people by setting a goal of 2,000 hours,” Clary said. “We have about 1,200 regular attendees, so we were asking close to two hours of everyone.” The 1,200 includes adults, children and infants.
“We had between 800 and 900 people involved. We allowed the church to be creative with how to carry out the challenge.”
During Love Week, Oct. 14 through 20, church members were asked to find ways to volunteer time to help people in the community.
The creativity was expressed in a variety of ways, from feeding people to cleaning up community places.
“We fed all the elementary school teachers (in Easley) one morning and the middle school and high school teachers at lunch. 130 volunteers fed 450 teachers in one day. We already have big plans for next year,” Clary said.
“We took baskets to hospital. We fed the police departments and fire department in Easley Liberty and Pickens. We went to nursing homes for a Bingo night. We took 40 to Shine (the local soup kitchen) and fed them and helped hem organize canned goods.”
People of all ages participated he said.
“A group of our children helped clean up a park. They had a picnic and then picked up trash,” he said.
“A group of youth went down (Hwy.) 123 and cleaned up parking lots,” Clary said. “They spent eight hours on a Saturday picking up trash. They went inside and handed the owners a card and said they wanted to help them. They said they didn’t want anything.” The card reads ‘Loving like Jesus by serving selflessly.’
“Behind it all was our desire to follow the example of Christ in sacrificing our selves in this small way.” Clary said.
The exercise drew a response in a couple of instances. “The best example is at the Laundromat,” he said. We had a family go in and offer to pay for people to wash their clothes, then they stayed around and helped fold. We noticed that others there started to do the same and it just spread through the place,” Clary said.
One of the groups held a clean up day at Westgate Apartments. “We noticed there that people came out to help and joined in,” Clary said. “We think the idea can really make a difference and involve people in the community together.”