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One Great Day of Service is Saturday
Annual event helps build community
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Charlie Bini cuts a stump next to a driveway during the 2008 Great Day of Service. - photo by File photo
At a glance

Check-in for the event will be held between 7:45 and 8:15 a.m. at the Family Life Center of the church. For more information or to sign up to participate, call (770) 887-2900 ext. 236, or visit
Saturday will be one great day for more than 750 Forsyth County area volunteers.

From sharing ice cream and a story with nursing home residents to heavy duty landscaping, volunteers will spend the day giving back through One Great Day of Service.

This is the eighth year Cumming First United Methodist Church has organized the event.

“It’s a busy day,” said Janet Walden, coordinator of lay volunteer services.

While 60 to 65 percent of the volunteers are church members, Walden said the goal has always been to reach out to the entire community.

“I think that if I’m doing my job well at the church, I’m flinging our doors open and inviting the community into our church and our church into the community,” she said.

Most of the 74 events scheduled for Saturday have enough volunteers, though Walden said a soup kitchen in Atlanta, silverware wrap and blood drive could use more help.

Children can also help through the Great Day of Service Kids Style Camp.

“They will do service projects,” Walden said. “They’ll make cupcakes for the fire stations, they’ll do some of the silverware wrapping, and they’ll visit some of the sites on campus so they can get a feel for the day and what service is all about.”

Many local organizations have been collecting food for the church’s food drive. Northside Hospital-Forsyth is among the food collection points.

“We’re doing the food drive as part of National Nutrition Month,” said Kay Stringfellow, clinical dietician at the Cumming hospital. “We’re collecting food every day. We have over 200 units of food right now and we’ll be turning it into the church at the end of the month.

“We felt it was very important for us to support the community and provide nutrition for people in need right now.”

The food drive will continue Saturday at various grocery stores throughout the county.

Walden said in addition to helping the community, her goal is to help build it.

“A lot of times people want to sign up with their groups ... when Sunday school classes or Rotary clubs try to sign up as a group, what I try to do is encourage them to grab a partner, grab a friend and sign up for a project,” she said. “Then go out and meet the other people they’re serving with. It just builds the community so we’re not only helping each other, but we’re also helping the folks we’re serving.”

E-mail Jennifer Sami at