An army of nearly 270 volunteers clad in bright orange T-shirts deployed throughout Grove City and other southwest Franklin County communities June 10 to complete good deeds.
Bringing together members from 10 local churches, the eighth annual Active Christians Serving Together in Grove City resulted in nearly 70 completed projects.
"Our volunteers work on a variety of tasks for residents in our community, everything from painting a house or fixing a roof to mowing grass or removing weeds," said Stan Kirtlan, pastor at Buckeye Christian Church and the coordinator of ACTS.
"We even work with the city to coordinate cleanup crews in some of the parks," Kirtlan said.
The 2017 program included volunteers from Amazing Grace Christian Church, Buckeye Christian Church, CenterPointe Church, Crosslink Community Church, Cypress Wesleyan-Grove City, First Baptist, First Presbyterian, The Naz-Grove City Nazarene, the Purple Door Church (Grove City) UMC and St. John's Lutheran.
"One of the things we want to show is that in Grove City Christians may belong to different churches, but we are all about the same thing," Kirtlan said. "We are all about serving Christ in our community."
The local churches help with compiling the list of projects for ACTS, but many people request assistance through a project application form on the ACTS website, actsingrovecity.com.
"People know how to find us," Kirtlan said.
"A lot of people who sign up are infirm or elderly and can't do the work themselves, or they don't have the financial means to get the project done," he said.
They aren't the only ones who benefit from ACTS, Kirtlan said.
"There's value in our volunteers working side by side with people from other churches," he said.
"I don't think you find many communities where so many people from different congregations partner on a project like this. You don't even have to be a member of a church to participate. All are welcome," he said.
Grove City resident Adam Bernhardt, a member of the Naz, has been participating in ACTS for five years.
"I just like the idea of all these area churches are coming together to serve others. That's what we're charged to do as Christians," he said.
Clay Shoemaker, who just graduated from Grove City Christian High School, was scraping off the old paint on a house on Thomas Avenue at one project site.
"It's a great experience being part of the ACTS project," he said. "It's a way to live out the meaning of your faith.
"It's taught me a lot about what's really important," Shoemaker said. "I've learned through this experience that helping others is more important than any individual accomplishment or achievement."
Grove City High School student Caitlyn Beck and Grove City Christian High School graduate Jime Hidalgo washed windows and helped paint houses along Thomas Avenue.
"My family's been involved with the project from the first year," Beck said. "It's had a big impact on me. I had the idea of service to others instilled in me at an early age."
Hidalgo was participating in her first ACTS in Grove City event.
"I had a desire to find a way to help other people," she said. "It's amazing to be part of something that is so huge and helps so many people in our city."
Kirtlan is stepping down next year as ACTS coordinator. John Keating, outreach pastor at the Naz, will lead the 2018 project.
"It's been such a fun and rewarding experience, but it's time for new blood and new leadership," Kirtlan said.