Paul Smith, executive director of the Purcellville-based Tree of Life Ministries, was elated with the Community Serve Day held by the nonprofit on Saturday.
“The essence of the day was community impact,” Smith said, adding the organization is working to expand its reach to Leesburg and Winchester.
The three events held over the weekend in Purcellville and Winchester served some 500 people, aided by 241 volunteers, Smith said.
The events included a clothing and furniture giveaway, a home renovation, and a homeless shelter landscaping project. The Purcellville Baptist Church offered its premises for the clothing and furniture giveaway, and Tree of Life volunteers served breakfast to those who attended.
Smith said he was surprised and pleased by the volunteer turnout for the annual giveaway. “There were so many new volunteers who were having meaningful conversations with attendees,” he said.
Smith said the site of the house renovation project was “unbelievable” when he turned up there after helping with the giveaway event.
“There were 89 volunteers there, giving up their day literally to turn the house upside down,” Smith said. Improvements were made to an access ramp, the kitchen, front and back porches, the roof, sitting room, bathroom, basement, along with painting inside and out and replacing the flooring.
The house belongs to an 83-year-old woman who has lived there since she was a child.
“We live in the wealthiest corner of the globe, and you have 89 volunteers working on a house that’s falling down around you,” Smith said. “We all need to open our eyes and look for those in need.” Tree of Life has seven housing units it rents to individuals who need homes.
Smith emphasized the nonprofit was not there to give handouts, as much as “help with a hand up, invite people to come along and join our life skills branch—to help them find work, balance a budget and encourage them to establish a productive lifestyle.”
The third project was to landscape the Winchester Salvation Army Homeless Shelter. Volunteers from the Western Loudoun Volleyball Club helped with the work.
Tree of Life members serve a free meal at the shelter each month. It also serves a weekly meal in Purcellville.
Tree of Life Ministries began in 2010 as a collaborative effort of Christian churches reaching out to those in need across western Loudoun County. The nonprofit is supported by 16 churches and more than 400 volunteers.
For more information, go to tolministries.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.