Serve Day

Shown are volunteers washing a car during the third annual Defiance Dream Center Serve Day. The fourth annual event, in which volunteers help do projects for those in need, will take place July 11.

The Defiance Dream Center kicked off its first ever Serve Day three years ago, with a goal of helping meet needs of people in the Defiance community.

The fourth annual Serve Day will be held July 11 and feature volunteers from the Defiance Dream Center, local community organizations, churches and people from all walks of life. Volunteers will meet at the Defiance Dream Center, located at 1935 E. Second St., suite A, beginning at 8 a.m., before going out into the community to serve.

According to Guiseppe Blanchard, Defiance Dream Center operations manager, this year’s event will once again strive to meet needs, while also keeping volunteers and those who receive services safe in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are going to have face masks and gloves available for our volunteers, and we’re going to respect social-distancing practices throughout the day,” said Blanchard. “Serve Day will start at 8 a.m. at the Dream Center with a small rally, before dispensing our volunteers out to work on their projects.”

Blanchard shared that there are currently enough volunteers to do between 20-25 projects, that include: helping single moms and widows with oil changes, car washes and car detailing; thanking city first responders and hospital workers with gift baskets; working with the Defiance Senior Center to help elderly homeowners with window washing and landscaping; and working with Defiance Elementary School on a landscaping project, just to name a few.

“Many of our projects will also be family and kid friendly,” said Blanchard. “In addition, we will be doing projects at our three adopt-a-block locations (on the east side of town at Hebron Ministries, Ralston Apartments and Northtowne Estates). We will be serving burgers and hot dogs at those locations, and have fellowship with the people there while practicing social distancing.

“In the meantime, we continue to go to those three neighborhoods the first Saturday of each month (Saturday Serve) with bags of love for the people, to pray with them, to listen to them, and to see what needs we can help meet for them,” added Blanchard.

While the Dream Center has enough volunteers for 20-25 projects at present, Matt Baringer, Defiance Dream Center treasurer, shared that there is still plenty of time for people to volunteer, or organizations to get involved, so that even more people can be served on July 11.

“We’d like to do five to 10 more projects, and there’s still plenty of opportunity to partner with more volunteers and organizations,” said Baringer. “Like Guiseppe said, we’re navigating what we need to do due to the pandemic, but this is still a great opportunity to go out into the community and serve our neighbors. Our goal at the Dream Center is to serve and to help bring unity to our community.

“The first few years, it was great to see how the community responded to what we were doing, but last year we saw Serve Day really grow,” added Baringer. “Our heart is to serve, and this year especially, with all the chaos in the world, we want to go out there and bring people hope. We can still come together and help those in need, give back, and make a real impact.”

Said Blanchard: “The mission of the Dream Center is to inspire people and empower people to be the people they were created to be.”

To learn more about the Defiance Dream Center, Serve Day, Saturday Serve, or to volunteer, go to defiancedreamcenter.org/serve day, send an email to info@defiancedreamcenter.org, or call 419-789-4122. To see a video about Serve Day, go to https://defiancedc.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/SERVE+Day+2020.MP4.

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