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Volunteers dig in to help

More than 400 Faith Community Church members volunteered their time to help individuals and families in the community this past week as part of "Faith Works."

Faith Works is a "mission trip to New Richmond" that started at Faith Community about four years ago and has continued to grow. Instead of traveling, volunteers take on more than 100 projects throughout the city.

"It's mostly targeting on individuals and families," Pastor Mike Evans said. "I think this year will be around 110 projects, some of them will take several days and some will take part of the day, so they range in size."

Faith Works helpers worked Monday, June 18, through Thursday, June 21, repairing roofs, building wheelchair ramps, landscaping and much more.

Cathy Gaffer, a Faith Works volunteer, said that most of the people and families they help were nominated by Faith Community members.

"If you know somebody in your neighborhood that looks like they might need a little bit of help, then you put their name down and we have a committee that goes around and talks to them," she said.

In addition to the other projects, volunteers also ran a brat and hotdog stand at Glover Park completely free of charge to the public, something that they started doing last year.

"It's often funny to see how people react to that because everybody kind of thinks there's nothing free," Evans said. "In a small way, it's symbolic of what Christ has done for us. He's given us forgiveness but at a great cost to him."

Faith Community wrapped up their volunteer efforts on Thursday evening with a community night, where they invited anyone who wanted to attend to join them for music and a free meal at the church.

Faith Community tries to make Faith Works as much like a mission trip as possible by providing food and having workers camp out outside the church.

"We get to camp out here for the whole week in campers and eat all our meals here like we are on a missions trip," Gaffer said.

Gaffer said this was her fourth year being involved with Faith Works and it's something she looks forward to every year.

"I like giving back," she said. "I like helping other people."

According to Evans, it is not just the community that benefits from Faith Works, but the program also serves to bring their church closer together.

"It really knits our church family together in ways that are really powerful because people get to hang around each other longer than we do any other way," he said.

Evans said that Faith Works also gives workers a clear sense that "God is working through them."

"It feels better than anything else," Faith Works volunteer Sarah Erb said. "It's a feeling you can't describe."