By Marney Simon | Enterprise Staff
A weekend effort to bring folks together to give back to the community was a huge success in Plainfield, as nearly 1,000 people showed up to make a difference.
The annual Big Serve kept folks busy on May 6 and 7, volunteering their time on several projects to aid those in the community. The annual event is a group effort of Community Christian Church, the Village of Plainfield, Plainfield United Methodist Church, Hope United Methodist Church, St. Mary Immaculate Parrish and other community organizations to spend a weekend in celebration of community service.
“The Big Serve is, in Plainfield, pretty much the culmination of a partnership between many, many churches, also community organizations and partners from different kinds of areas, from the village… and this year we were excited to add friends from the Plainfield mosque who came and joined us this year,” said Sherry Scates, Minister of Faith Formation at Plainfield UMC. “We all join together in just serving the community in whatever way we can. We have over 25 projects all throughout the Plainfield area that are meant to help out people who are in need or do some good.”
The projects included collecting food for pantries, yard brigades to help people who have medical issues or who are older or home bound to take care of their yards and doing things around the yard, creating special bags for children who are entering foster care, aiding the elderly or the lonely, creating cards for children in the hospital, kid crafts and projects for homebound neighbors and nursing homes, and plarning – turning plastic bags into yarn to create mats for the homeless.
“It’s all kinds of different organizations making sure that anything we can do to help, and not just help for one day, but our real hope is that people will come and volunteer today and maybe learn something about a new project or an organization, and then might continue that relationship with that organization throughout the year,” Scates said.
The event takes about five to six months for organizers to put together each year, as lists of projects are created and plans put in order. Organizers seek out new projects in addition to continuing efforts to aid the community. Scates said it’s just a good way to bring the community together.
“The thing that I love most about this, here at our United Methodist Church, we’re about serving and being the church out in the community,” Scates said. “What is so different from what we do all the time day in and day out, between that and the Big Serve, is that this is the time where we all come together. Where we just can drop those denominational labels, work inner faith and work with those community based organizations, reach out, build those relationships, and make a difference in the community. There’s nothing else like it, it’s really awesome. So, anyone else who wants to get involved, I’d encourage them to come and do it.”
Mayor Mike Collins thanked the public for their participation in the Big Serve during Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
“It was very well attended, and a lot of projects were completed,” Collins said. “It just amazes me every year on how many people come through.”
Scates noted that while this year’s event is over, those interested in helping can contact partner churches or groups to inquire about ongoing projects or volunteer opportunities.