Red shirts flooded the streets of Portsmouth, Ohio Saturday to join in Serve Day 2017. With 22 local churches banding together as one collective voice, a strong message was sent: there is hope for revitalization when unity occurs.
Beautification and landscaping projects happened at the Post Office, compost boxes were built for the community garden, and trash was picked up all over the town. In the east end, live music filled the air, food was handed out, and inflatables were jumped on as a man-made train led by a lawnmower took children for a ride. A new roof was put on a dugout in Sciotoville, and many other projects were tackled all at the same time. People were able to use their strengths, whether that be manual labor, face painting, or simply making sure people in the community know that they matter.
Months of planning came to fruition as countless projects were accomplished around the town. Joey Hammond was a part of one group doing work at Mound Park.
“We’ve got a bunch of people here cleaning up the wood structures, weeds, leaves, painting the swing-sets, and getting rid of an old fence so people don’t get hurt,” Hammond said, “We’re here for one reason and one reason only. It’s all because we love Jesus and we want to tell people about Him, and we want people to know that he came to save everybody, not just our one group of people, and that is powerful.”
Many people were on the team that made Serve Day come to life in Portsmouth. Chad Monroe was one of those people.
“Last year we had three churches involved, and then this year we had 22,” Monroe said. “We contacted county and city officials asking what projects could be done. We gave ideas, but it was up to specific groups to choose projects, fund them, and see the projects to completion.
I love that this is contagious. When we do things like this, other people can be inspired to help as well. Our goal is to come together as one church in Portsmouth, to create THE Church.”
Food was donated by several businesses in Portsmouth, and supplies were brought by city officials, making this event a collective in many ways.
One group was located at the Vern Riffe School, where a team scrubbed and waxed gym floor and hallways. They also painted the basketball courts, as well as yellow safety strips all over the property. This was much needed for the school according to Missy Cassidy, an employee at the school.
“I think our community has been hurting,” Cassidy said. “This is a great way to bring people together and get the ball rolling — remembering that we can do positive things. Little by little we can make improvements and get everyone involved.”
At the end of the day, over 1,000 people were involved in making the people of Portsmouth smile a little brighter. Anyone can be a part of this event, and next year it will be July 14.
This past Saturday showed that when herds of people come together with a common goal to spread love, incredible things happen.