Volunteers take the time to help neighbors around Plainview

Eighty-nine volunteers took time out of their Saturday to help their neighbors around the Plainview community.

First United Methodist Church outreach coordinator Judy Wiggins said that was a record number and she is already looking forward to next year. Last year’s Operation: Serve didn’t attract many volunteers or phone calls for tasks. The 89 volunteers and the calls for projects are an encouraging sign for the future of the event.

The Saturday volunteers were of different ages. The youngest is estimated to be around 4 years old. They all gathered at FUMC to receive assignments before spreading out into the community for 22 different tasks, she said.

There were individuals, families, service clubs, church groups, and other organizations present to do chores like painting, picking up trash, cleaning gutters, sewing pillows, and a variety of other jobs, a said Wiggins.

The child volunteers spent the morning painting pots for the plants before distributing them to local seniors, she said.

“Anything that can be done in a day, we do it,” Wiggins said.

Volunteers also provide entertainment as an act of service. Two young boys from the Terrell family spent part of the day playing music for the residents of one of the local assisted living facilities. Wiggins said the committee is always looking for more people to participate in acts of service like this.

The Operation: Serve program was started nearly a decade ago by FUMC, she noted. His focus at the time was mainly to help local seniors with various household chores that they couldn’t do on their own.

Then the program grew in popularity and it was more about helping the neighbors with whatever they needed, whether it was a big project that they kept putting off and couldn’t not do on their own or a simple task that they cannot accomplish on their own. While FUMC still helps coordinate volunteers and link them to projects, Wiggins said it has extended far beyond the church. Now, there are a handful of churches getting involved on a regular basis, and the Town of Plainview is also stepping in to provide dumpsters and other resources for those who volunteer their time.

“We try to help anyone,” she said.

Although this year’s event has just ended, Wiggins already has her sights set on next year’s operation.

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