Volunteerism spirit high at Wesley UMC

Volunteerism spirit high at Wesley UMC

Wesley United Methodist Church held its annual May Breakfast on Saturday, May 3. Volunteers for the Liberia Fundraiser, from left, Pastor Bill Flug, Donawea Towah, of Lincoln, and Chris and Dan Genannt, of Attleboro, stand with their collection box. (Valley Breeze photo by David Wuerth)

LINCOLN - Organizers at Wesley United Methodist Church credit providing more opportunities and convenience for volunteers with increasing the amount of activism throughout the community.

Over the past year and one-half, outreach has been made a focus, said Deborah Obalil, outreach group co-chairwoman, "to really fulfill our mission of the church."

In that time, Wesley has become involved with Community Against Bullying in Schools, Clinica Esperanza, Habitat for Humanity, Segue Institute for Learning in Central Falls, Bridge Liberia, and United Methodist Action Reach-out Mission by Youth, which connects United Methodist churches throughout the Northeast for mission trips.

Wesley will host a group from the UM Action Reach-out Mission by Youth this June, as volunteers work in homes throughout Rhode Island owned by the elderly or disabled who need help with home improvement. A Habitat for Humanity Team has plans to build homes in Woonsocket next, Obalil said.

Volunteers, Obalil said, meet only to complete the task at hand, so no time is wasted sitting in meetings. She said that fact alone encourages more to get involved because members would rather spend their free time engaging with the community.

One active church volunteer is Donawea Towah, who founded Bridge Liberia, a program she started in January that sends school supplies back to her native Kaportown, Liberia, where students learn in packed school rooms with dirt floors. Towah left Africa during the war, and has been in the United States for more than 10 years, attending school and working in a nursing home.

"I went to school like that, so I know what it's like to have nothing, to grow up with nothing," she said, noting that many go to school hungry each day. "One notebook makes a difference."

The church, at 55 Woodland St., acts as a central collection point for the standard elementary school supplies like backpacks, notebooks, pencils, crayons, glue sticks and rulers. Towah said Wesley's involvement under the Rev. Bill Flug has contributed to its success.

"The whole church, everyone's been openhearted," she said. The next supply packing day will take place June 29. Visit www.bridgelib.org for more information.

Wesley also continues to work to contribute to local food pantries and Adopt-a-Family programs, as well as working on community gardens in Woonsocket that grow food for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.

"It's definitely broadened the number of folks in our congregation that are openly involved," Obalil said.

Visit www.wesley-umc.org to learn more.

In addition, the Action Reach-out Mission by Youth is seeking homeowners in need of no-cost new construction of handicapped assistance and wheelchair ramps, wooden porches, enclosed porches, small sheds; home repairs of steps, handrails, hanging doors, stuck windows, shelving, window glass, screens, dry wall, replacing rotten wood; and maintenance of yard work, painting, gardening and house cleaning.

The group's mission is to provide Christ-centered quality work camps that serve people in need and promote spiritual growth and leadership in youth.

The Lincoln Senior Center will be a referral agency. For more information, call Lois Durkin at 401-753-7000.