World Changers come to help community
By April Garon
NATCHEZ — Sam Moore looked on Tuesday while a group of teenagers built a wooden wheelchair ramp on his porch.
“I used to be a carpenter, so it’s nice to see them out doing this,” Moore said.
His handicap made it difficult for Moore to leave his Daisy Street house.
“I need this ramp,” Moore said. “I’m excited to have more freedom to come and go as I please.”
More than 200 students from across the South will be volunteering to help the Natchez community this week as part of World Changers, an initiative of LifeWay Christian Resources.
The group will work until Friday at 18 worksites painting, landscaping, building ramps and working on other renovations.
“World Changers helps kids have a serving attitude and learn how to give and help others,” associational co-coordinator Dale Little said. “They have to have a servant heart to start with, and share it.”
Little said the citywide project costs approximately $20,000. The Southern Baptist Convention, Mississippi Baptist Convention, City of Natchez, Adams-Union Baptist Association and Entergy have partnered with the program.
Katie Blankenship, from Leroy, Ala., worked on scraping old paint from another house on Daisy Street.
“It’s good to get out of my comfort zone,” Blankenship said. “It’s more than giving out things and telling people about Jesus. I’m acting on faith — we did something for that person.”
Parkway Baptist Church is hosting World Changers throughout the week, providing lodging and two meals a day. Lunch is donated from other churches and members of the community.
The experience has been a culture shock for many of the participants, Nathan Gillmore said. Gillmore helped oversee the youth group from his church.
“Some are from more affluent areas, and it’s easy to get so involved in our lives,” Gillmore said. “There are bigger things in the world than whether or not your phone is charged.”
Daisy Street homeowner and Airforce veteran Tommy Nelson looked excited as he watched the group working.
“I enjoy them out here, it gives me something to do; something to look at — to watch all the nice people out here,” Nelson said.
At first the neighbors might give them funny looks, but at the end of the week they will wave and honk their horn, Gilmore said.
Little said they started receiving requests for the project last year and worked with church groups and city officials to find Natchez residents in need.
World Changers will begin taking applications for assistance again in January 2014.
The group will meet on the bluffs in downtown Natchez at 7:30 p.m. today for worship and music. Local pastors will speak.