Might have been one of our very first Love Tacoma Sundays. Titlow Park. Thirty-ish people, ages 1-70, armed with shovels and hoes. A huge mound of fresh bark. And right at that mound, purple plastic bucket in one hand and a little shovel in the other, 4-year-old Demara leans down from her wheelchair to scoop bark and get in on the action.
She looks up at the Parks staff with the giant bucket and quickly charms him: “You help me fill my bucket, and I’ll help you fill yours.”
In the years since then, Discovery has sent out hundreds of volunteers in teams to jump in all over our city, and Love Tacoma has become one of our favorite events. A few times each year, we coordinate with local service organizations and with families in need, and our teams head out in two hour shifts immediately after services on Sunday.
Why do we do this?
- Um… it’s really fun. Working together with people at Discovery you may or may not already know, doing something meaningful and often active. Perfect setting for laughter and conversation and new friendships and a sense of refreshing. This is a good time.
- Most of you really want to serve our city. And this one-time commitment is an easy way to step in, get to know some of the great organizations and opportunities in our city, and identify some places you’ll want to invest more! We’ve had several Disco Groups who’ve come away from Love Tacoma Sundays deciding to serve regularly as a Group, and we’ve had individuals who recognized a larger calling (and then followed through on it!) because of first steps taken during Love Tacoma!
- Your unconnected friends and family actually want to serve our city too! Lots of you have found that while your friends or family may have hesitations about joining you at church, or engaging in spiritual conversations, they love the idea of heading out to serve in a really practical way. So go ahead and include them in on the fun, because God can open all kinds of doors from that!
- Discovery partners with some fantastic ministries in Tacoma. When teams head out on a Love Tacoma Sunday, you get to know those ministries in a whole new way with a new kind of buy-in! The more connected we are with those partners, the more prepared we are to respond when they have various kinds of needs.
- It’s a great way to demonstrate Jesus’ love! When Jesus engaged people, he very often included extremely practical ways of ministering to them. It’s only right that we do likewise! And we have never had a Love Tacoma Sunday when there didn’t end up being some kind of opportunity for one of you to have an unexpected gospel conversation… Such good stuff.
What kinds of things have we done?
It’s a long list, and here’s just a sampling!
- Serving meals, cleaning out warehouses, landscaping work, playground builds at various Rescue Mission campuses
- Landscaping projects at local parks and neighborhood cleanups
- Appreciation parties for the caretakers of adults with disabilities – and parties for those adults themselves
- Classroom, office and grounds projects for multiple local public schools, including our own much-loved Giaudrone
- Serving meals at Nativity House and Tacoma’s Temporary Homeless Camp
- Interior painting for Centerforce, an employment and community building ministry for individuals with disabilities
- Sorting and prepping for local clothing banks
- Specific projects for Discovery families in need
- And so many more!!
So when can you jump in??
There’s one coming up! This Sunday, May 20 we’re going again. Two shifts, 11am-1pm and 1pm-3pm. Sign up with your family, your Disco Group, your neighbors! There’s something for everyone. This Love Tacoma’s projects include:
- Training and Prayerwalking at the Tacoma Detention Center
- Assembling PAVE Family Care Packages for and with families with Down Syndrome
- Youth for Christ Tillicum Center indoor & outdoor maintenance
- Landscaping at Wright Park
- Sorting and prepping clothing for Nativity House’s Clothing Bank
- Outdoor garden work and indoor toy disinfecting for the Multicultural Child & Family Hope Center
- Outdoor and indoor projects at Jenny Reed Elementary School
- Meal service at the Rescue Mission