Nearly 130 Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) students, faculty and staff helped to restore community property and meet the physical needs of local residents in Waxahachie on Saturday, October 22, through this year's Make a Difference Day (MADD).
Volunteers divided into five groups with each designated to a specific task. Some tasks included painting fire hydrants and picking up trash in the community.
In response to the event, Andy Lehmann, Missions and Community Engagement Pastor at The Oaks Fellowship church said, “God can use simple acts of service to bring relationships and opportunities.”
Along with restoring property and collecting trash, volunteers also had the opportunity to provide services to the Fraternal Cemetery. In collaboration with the Ellis County African American Hall of Fame, volunteers helped catalog the graves of former slaves that had been buried throughout the cemetery so that visitors can identify their ancestors. Volunteers also contributed by installing 20 posts to display signs in the cemetery for Dr. Jamal Rasheed, Director of the Ellis County African American Hall of Fame and caretaker of the Fraternal Cemetery.
While MADD is a nationally celebrated event, SAGU participated in the opportunity to give back to the community while also taking part in a community restoration project called The Waxahachie Project. With efforts to help bring restoration and reconciliation between neighborhoods and the people of Waxahachie, SAGU has specifically focused on the restoration of the Samaria Missionary Baptist Church through the Giving Project, a fundraising project conducted by the Southwestern Missions Association (SMA). SMA is a student-led organization on SAGU's campus that provides a variety of student-led ministries including local ministries in Dallas and Waxahachie.
Hannah Caballero, the Treasurer for SMA, is in charge of the association's budget for all ministries and has been involved in the fundraising process and the vision for the Giving Project.
“We're all coming together as one and building relationships like that is really exciting,” Caballero said.
The day was concluded with a time of fellowship at the Blocktober Party, a community block party held at Freedman Park. The Blocktober Party included free food, inflatables, live music and games. All participants were also welcomed to take a tour of the African American Hall of Fame.
To learn more about the Waxahachie Project, click here .