On a cool, overcast Saturday in February just a few days before Valentine’s Day, 350 adults, youth, and children from First Baptist Roswell  gathered to show their love for this community. It was the first of what will become an annual event, Beyond Our Walls Service Day, where the congregation seeks to go beyond their own church and show their love and support for our community.

With so many people, they divided up into six Service Areas: FBR on Campus, Assisted Living, Local Charities, City of Roswell, Roswell Public Schools, and Light Construction. There was so much excitement around this day that several of the volunteers were not church members but were people from the community who saw the event on FBR’s website and wanted to participate!

With almost 100 people in their group, the Assisted Living Group was able to visit eight different homes, including Manor on the Square, Brookdale at Historic Roswell, Brookdale at Chambrel, Brookdale at Big Creek, Arbor Terrace, Elmcroft, Cottonwood Estates in Alpharetta, and Just People, a home for adults with developmental disabilities. They paired families up with senior adults to play bingo and decorate flower pots for the residents, a children’s choir sang at two of the homes, and a string quartet from the church played at Arbor Terrace.

The children in this group had a blast playing bingo with the elderly, quickly discovering that those senior adults weren’t messing around when it came to bingo. The adults came back with plenty of stories of lives well lived, and stories from Just People that included smiling faces and residents willing to share their winnings with others who hadn’t yet won bingo.

Also with almost 100 people in their group, the Local Charities group was able to split up and work with five different charities. They cleaned windows, glass doors, tables, and the playground at the Child Development Association. They prepared for Prom-a-Palooza at the Foster Care Foundation, helped put out the Spring clothes, cleaned windows, and put out pine straw at the Drake Closet, cleaned the toys in the toy room and did yard work at the Drake House, and planted pansies, did several outside cleaning projects, and worked in the Thrift Shop at North Fulton Community Charities.

The Light Construction group made up of about 30 people worked at a home for adults with developmental disabilities in Milton, built storage boxes for the Foster Care Foundation, tore down an old shed and built a new one at the Drake House, and did various projects at a house on Canton Street for a man who needed help.

The City of Roswell group of about 30 put in three swings at Big Creek off of Oxbo Road, working hard to make sure everyone who takes the trail around the creek would be able to rest and enjoy the view. They also handed out water in Roswell Area Park.

The Roswell Public School group of about 30 focused their energies on Roswell High School. They were actually led by a Roswell High Student who is a member of FBR. She and her parents worked together with the principal to find various projects needed to help make sure the high school is well cared for. This group was made up of teens and their parents, and they cleaned up the outdoor classroom, trimmed shrubs, raked leaves, washed windows, spread mulch, did some landscaping around the school sign, and even did a much needed repair of several potholes! A member of the schoolboard even dropped by and was thrilled to find all the work these teens and their parents had done.

The group that stayed at First Baptist stayed busy as well. The 55 of them made sleeping mats for the homeless out of plastic bags and filled shoeboxes with various items that would bring a smile to the girls at Wellspring Living, an organization that helps domestic sex trafficking victims and those at risk of being trafficked. The children made pinecone bird feeders for the girls at Wellspring Living. They packaged and delivered lunch to Roswell’s fire and police departments to say thank you for all that they do for our city. They made flowerpots for residents of nursing homes, and they made various items for the ministries at First Baptist, including activity bags for the Counseling Center’s Hope for Grieving Children Program and heating packs for the homebound.

It was an exciting day, filled with hard work, good food, and great conversations. And at the end of the day, we walked away with new friendships, thankful hearts, and a few sore backs. We put in more than 1,000 hours of work into this community that we love so much. And as we showed our love for Roswell, we were reminded of just how wonderful this city is. We can’t wait until next year! If you’d like to join us, our second Beyond Our Walls Service Day will be February 10, 2018. We’d love to see you there!

First Baptist Roswell is a traditional church with a contemporary message and has been an essential part of the Roswell community since 1872. To learn more, visit FBROSWELL.ORG

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