St. John's Lutheran Church in Stony Ridge undertakes a service
project each year.
This year's project is called the "Community Rehab Project," an effort of both church and community working together to rehab a home for a woman who lives in Stony Ridge.
Natalie St. Arnaud is a shut-in member of St. John's Lutheran Church and a lifelong resident of Stony Ridge.
"She doesn't get out much," said Nancy Gerwin, who is overseeing the project. "She has some limitations that keep her home now, but in her younger years she was very active in the community helping with the summer festival put on by the Stony Ridge Civic Association."
Arnaud's house is being remodeled by volunteers and donations through this project. The project began June 1 and is hoped to be finished by early fall.
The Social Ministries Committee of St. John's Lutheran Church, chaired by Gerwin, is a committee that serves the needs of people in the church and community.
The committee was to identify the 2009 service project for the congregation, and was made aware of Arnaud's need for assistance.
"We talked about several possibilities for doing a service project right in our own community, and every avenue we tried fell through for various reasons," Gerwin said. "Finally, one of the committee members asked, "Why can't we just try helping Natalie on our own?" and that is how it all began."
From there, a steering committee was formed to meet with the family, assess the needs of the home, prepare a project list and give an estimate of cost for materials. It was determined that $15,000 would need to be raised in order to make the repairs necessary.
From there, a fundraising committee was established. Jerri Reitzel, Lynette Brough and Bobbi Henry are all working on various fundraising ideas for this project.
The first fundraiser, a "Celebrity Serve" was held on Saturday, June 27, at PeeWee's Dari Snak in Stony Ridge. The event featured members of the church and community serving ice cream to the customers.
The "celebrity helpers" include Pastor Jim Budke (Visitation Pastor of St. John's), Pastor Bob Johnson (Retired St. John's pastor), Judge Dwight Osterud of Perrysburg Municipal Court, Wood County Auditor Mike Sibbersen, Troy Township Trustees Steve Levorchick and Earl Hagg, and Dave "Digger" Marsh, owner of Marsh Funeral Homes.
"It went great," said Jerri Reitzel, fundraising coordinator. "Just in tips alone, we made close to $450. A portion of the sales, 10 percent, went toward the project as well, although I do not have a total amount as of yet. I can say that it was a very busy day."
Reitzel said the Community Rehab Project will hold another fundraiser, a drive-thru Chicken and Rib BBQ, on Sunday, July 19 in the St. John's Lutheran Church parking lot. The committee is selling pre-sale tickets for a chicken, rib or combo meal. You buy your ticket ahead of time, come to the church parking lot and drive through the pick-up line and take your dinner home.
Tickets can be purchase by calling Jerri at 419-837-2972, Lynette at 419-837-6511 or Bobbi at 419-833-9040. Lutheran Thrivent matching funds have been approved for the BBQ fundraiser.
Another fundraiser in the works includes a golf scramble at Tanglewood on Sept. 26. For more information on the scramble or to make a donation, call Reitzel.
"Another very impressive part of this project is that the church and community are working together to make this happen," Gerwin said. "Volunteers worked at the project site on June 20, tearing down an old shed and garage making the outside appearance of the property more appealing."
The next Saturday workday is being planned for July 11.
"In between the Saturday work dates, two community members have been donating lots of hours and hard work during the week on the inside of the home," Gerwin said. "There have been others who have helped out on their days off of work as well, and all hands working on this project count. The repairs to the home that are needed are pretty extensive.
"There are issues with some windows, insulation, and basically the house is in pretty bad shape," Gerwin said. "It just needs a great big facelift, but we are coming along, trying to make the house more efficient as we go."
Joining in the forces are community and church members, along with Stony Ridge Methodist Church members and Zion Lutheran Church members in Latcha.