Volunteer Bill Wilker High Fives a Child at Last Year's Day of Hope. David Wilhite. (click for larger version)
April 22, 2014ROSWELL, Ga. -- At last year's Roswell Day of Hope, more than five hundred volunteers turned out in the rain to pray with the community's poor and serve up four thousand hot dogs along with other lunchtime treats.
More than a hundred people saw a doctor and two hundred got haircuts. Children enjoyed a play area then posed with their parents for souvenir family photos. All the offerings were free of charge to more than a thousand attendees who found themselves down on their luck.
Now organizers are gearing up to do it again. The sixth annual event will be held Saturday, April 26 at Mimosa Elementary School in Roswell.
With some estimates showing that more than 19 percent of Georgians live in poverty, Day of Hope volunteers say it feels good to reach out with a sandwich, a smile or a much-needed medical checkup.
Volunteer Jeff Bellamy says he's always touched by how grateful people are "that somebody cares enough to pray for them. There's just a glow on their face like they can't believe it," he says.
The associate pastor at Roswell Assembly adds that prayer requests have most often been centered around family concerns and finances. Many attendees are "in dire straits. That's why they're there," he says. "You might think they just want the free services but they really want the prayer as well."
Chiropractor Michael Halan is among the professionals who have offered his services at the event. "Giving to programs that benefit the needy around the globe is necessary," he says, "but through the Day of Hope, my neighbors and I get to reach out to, well, our neighbors."
The community is encouraged to spread the word to all in need. The event will be held from noon to 4 p.m at Mimosa Elementary School, 1550 Warsaw Road in Roswell.
It's designed to bring hope in all aspects of life. Guests will be entertained by various performers. In some cases, families have received help and then returned to volunteer once their circumstances improved.
The effort is led by Hope Roswell, a network of pastors and church leaders from various denominations. Volunteers will often follow up with guests, offering them rides to church. Church services in Spanish have helped to maintain connections with some of the families served.
Hope Roswell also provides for families throughout the year by providing backpacks, holiday dinners and more.
Donations can be made through the website www.hoperoswell.org. Those who want more information may email email@example.com