Members of different clubs and churches in Bridgeport will come together once again for a common cause.
Participants in the second Bridgeport Gives Back program will help their neighbors in need during five days of community service projects Wednesday through Sunday, May 15-19.
“It’s hard to get people from different organizations and churches together, but this has worked out well,” said Shelley McComis, one of the event’s organizers. “Things fall right into place … Watching everyone working so closely together (last year), I believed this was something we needed to continue … I really felt like God was telling us to do this.”
Organizers applied what they learned in last year’s inaugural event in modifications to the projects selected, and even the date. Originally held in October, the event was moved to May to avoid conflicts with football and other fall functions.
“Fall is such a busy time of year,” McComis said. “I think this time of year will be where we stay. It’ll take us three to four years to smooth out all of the kinks. We’re still learning, but we’re enjoying it.”
This year’s tasks include construction and maintenance at two homes, nursing facility outreach, recognizing local educators, assisting the elderly with smoke alarm safety and supporting special-needs baseball players.
Described as the “heart of the effort,” home projects comprise the bulk of the five-day endeavor.
One crew will take on major construction tasks – such as tearing out the floor and extensive work in the bathroom – at a home on 13th Street, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. They hope to finish by 1 p.m. Saturday.
Volunteers will do yard work, repair the porch and paint a home on Cobb Street on Wednesday afternoon.
“Our home projects are always our No. 1,” McComis said. “There’s nothing else in the county to help people in need in that way. They are a big part of what we do.”
NURSING FACILITY OUTREACH
Throughout the five days of service, community members will visit with the residents at Senior Care Center in Bridgeport.
Scheduled activities include songs and visiting with patients in the Alzheimer’s wing at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
At the same time, children from Mama Bren’s daycare and residents of the assisted living facility will plant flower pots with supplies donated by the Bridgeport Garden Club. The pots will be presented to school trustees. See more below.
This year, the initiative will recognize local educators.
“We’re each given so much, how can we give back?,” McComis said. “A large part is by being thankful.”
In addition to presenting flower pots to the school board, five businesses and a group of ladies from Carpenter Street Church of Christ will provide a lunch for all of the faculty and staff (teachers, janitors, secretaries, etc.) at each of the district’s schools plus the administration office.
The businesses include Brookshire’s, First Financial Bank, First State Bank, Chris Miller Farmers Insurance and Meyers Agency.
“Their contributions are very much commendable,” McComis said. “It’s just one business or group per school, and some of those schools have 100-plus employees. The group of little ladies are from a really small church, and not only are they cooking a meal for the staff at the intermediate school, they’re also furnishing door prizes. It’s really neat.”
Last year, volunteers delivered bags of cookies to every business in town.
In conjunction with police and volunteer firemen, volunteers will change smoke alarm batteries or install alarms for the elderly and others who may need assistance on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.
A coordinator will disperse teams of volunteers from the fire hall throughout both afternoons, beginning at 4:30 p.m.
“This is something our fire department handled, but Bridgeport has gotten too large for our volunteers, to manage,” McComis said. “Our fire chief has a few homes he goes and changes the batteries in the alarms. But he’s excited that this was something we’d start doing as a more widespread effort.”
To receive assistance, call 940-683-3430 by Monday, May 13.
With signs painted by high school art students, Bridgeport Gives Back participants will cheer on the players of the Wise County Special Needs Baseball League, during games 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Renshaw Park in Decatur.
Volunteers will also “buddy” with a player and help them bat and field.
“We discovered that half of the players are from Bridgeport,” McComis said. “We thought it was important to raise awareness so that everyone can experience what these games are like. They’re so much fun.”
All community members are encouraged to participate.
“Bridgeport is small enough that there shouldn’t be people in need,” McComis said. “If we all come together, we can make a difference.”