The tornado that tore though sections of Grove City on April 3 meant that this year's Active Christians Serving Together in Grove City project had more items on the to-do list than usual.

But it also likely resulted in the overwhelming number of volunteers who fanned out May 19 throughout Grove City and other southwest Franklin County communities to complete more than 100 projects.

About 400 volunteers from 10 local churches signed up for the ninth annual event, said John Keating, sports and outreach pastor at Grove City Church of the Nazarene and coordinator of ACTS.

"We had more projects this year because of the damage caused by the storm, but I think that also led to more people wanting to be a part of this project," he said. "People who maybe weren't able to help out in the community right after the storm because of time constraints or other commitments could do their part through ACTS."

The volunteers, wearing bright orange ACTS T-shirts, completed a variety of tasks, including painting, lawn work, home repairs, general community cleanup and preparing and delivering baked goods.

One group of volunteers -- dubbed the "Bed Brigade" -- constructed 50 beds the day of the event and delivered 20 of them to area homes in time for youngsters to use them that night.

"Hundreds of kids in our community are on a waiting list for a bed," Keating said. "They're sleeping on the ground; they're sleeping on the floor. I don't think people realize how much of a need there is for beds in this community."

Columbus resident Cheri Johnson was among the local church members helping to build the beds.

"I really wanted to be part of this activity because it's directly helping children," she said. "I never imagined that there are so many children in our community who are lacking a soft bed to sleep in."

The bed-making process ran quite easily, Johnson said.

"All of the parts were ready to go, and we're working like an assembly line, so it's going really fast," she said.

Six youths from Boy Scout Troop 136 completed mulching, weeding and other lawn-care work at a residence on Southern Grove Drive.

"We're really happy to be able to participate in this year's project. Usually, we're on a camping trip when ACTS is held," said Scoutmaster Kirk Bohanan.

"Community service is a big part of scouting, and it's a great opportunity for our kids to be involved in something that does so much good for this community," he said.

The troop is chartered through First Presbyterian Church, one of the 10 local congregations that participated in the 2018 ACTS project.

The other churches included Amazing Grace Christian Church, Buckeye Christian Church, Covenant, Crosslink Community Church, Cypress Wesleyan-Grove City, First Baptist, Grove City Nazarene, the Purple Door Church UMC and Victorious Living.

"What makes this project so special is that it's a combined effort from a number of churches in the community who join together to spread the word of Christ through acts of service," Keating said. "There's strength in numbers. It's a more meaningful and powerful project because so many churches and volunteers are involved."

The local churches help with compiling the list of projects for ACTS, but people also request assistance through a project application form on the ACTS website, actsingovecity .com.

Many applicants are senior citizens, those who are infirm or are not able to complete the work due to financial issues, Keating said.

The hundreds of people who volunteer to complete those tasks "are exactly why Grove City is the best small town in central Ohio," said Dale Benson, Grove City Nazarene's senior pastor.

"The camaraderie, the friendship, the commitment to our faith is invigorating. It's a chance to show that we can make a difference in our community by putting our faith into practice," Benson said.

ACTS in Grove City is a gift, Mayor Ike Stage said.

"It's a blessed gift for our community, because our churches are involved," he said. "It's another affirmation of the sense of community spirit we have in Grove City, and that's especially been demonstrated after the tornado."

Ultimately, ACTS in Grove City gives volunteers "the chance to be part of something bigger than ourselves," Keating said.

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