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Hundreds served community through outreach program

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Hundreds participated and gave of their time on Saturday for the #1COMMUNITY1HEART outreach event led by Karen Hudson. It was considered a huge success.

Meeting at Apex Bank early in the morning, 50 groups set out to beautify the county by cleaning up area properties, helping those in need, paying for gas, assisting the elderly and doing their part to make the community come together as a whole.

Hudson came up with the idea when she was on two mission trips with her church. “God laid it on my heart to do something at home,” she explained. So, Hudson handed it over to God. She said she leaned on Him to reveal what needed to be done in the area. Skip ahead several months and more than 400 locals participated in #1community1heart. She said it did just what was intended, build relationships by doing for others.

Before the day got underway, Apex Community Banking President Marcus Vine said a prayer that people would feel the love of others. One of the group leaders, Marty Arnold, said he was sure that happened. Arnold said, “We are hoping what we did today touched people’s hearts as we shared our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, love and appreciation to others.”

Arnold and his crew cleaned the yard of a Holladay resident that volunteers herself. “Today was about going out into the community and touching people’s lives who have touched ours. There are a lot of good things that happened today.”

Matthew Greer and the congregation of Missionary Grove Baptist Church handed out more than 135 vehicles. One of the representatives of the church, Nikki Dillehay said, “We had such a good time. It was such a blessing. We got to see God glorified today and it has been an awesome day of blessings.” The church ended up pumping more than $1,200 in free gas for the community.

Another church group from Faith Driven Ministry of God washed clothes at the local laundry mat, while several groups dispersed throughout sections of Big Sandy, Holladay, Eva and Camden doing inside and outside routine cleaning acitivities.

It was not just for adults. There were several kids involved in the outreach program, as well. Eleven-year-old Hayden Dillehay stood on Hwy. 641 several hours with a sign that read, “Free gas for everyone,” She said when asked why they were doing it, she replied, “Jesus sacrificed Himself for us, so we should give back for His sake.”

Fifth grader Jake Reynoldson, 11, was busy cleaning debris from a local yard, while 6-year-old Sydney Blackburn and her friend, Camilla Jones, 7, assisted the kitchen staff with cleaning tables and refilling drinks. When the two young ladies were asked about participating, Jones said, “We wanted to help people.” Blackburn said it was fun helping all of the people.

Hudson said that she hoped the event was a “mind-changer.” She said on Monday, “I am hoping that Saturday just encourages people to think differently. I hope it encourages folks to take a moment out of their busy lives and check on their neighbor or even someone they don’t really know. The whole event was geared towards building relationships.”

Hudson hopes that people will take-on the giving spirit through the program and not let it end on Saturday. She hopes to continue other projects through the year.

It took a village. #1COMMUNITY1HEART funds were made possible through the Living the Dream Foundation in honor of Sonny Melton, The Chemours Company, Barry and Lee Anne Barnett in memory of Jerry and Jeanette Brandon’s son Jamie Brandon. Participant’s t-shirts were purchased by Tampa Bay Buccaneer tight end, Tanner Hudson. Goodwings provided the tea. Community-wide ladies baked and delivered the desserts. Apex Bank donated the venue, as well as the more than 440 chicken leg quarters, 48 pounds of potato salad, 32 pounds of cabbage, 14 cans of beans and eight whole bolognas. Apex Event Coordinator Gary Greer said the bank enjoys showing how much they care about the community through events such as this.

“We could not have asked for the event to play out any better,” Hudson smiled. “God made everything fall into place and countless people were touched by His work. Now let’s keep it going.”

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