Tallmadge -- A small group of men and women in Tallmadge aim to make a large impact at their church, and beyond.
The Men's Work Group at Tallmadge United Methodist Church gets together every Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m. to do repairs at the church to help cut down on costs, as well as doing outreach to the community.
The group is a long-standing, separate entity from the Methodist Men, which is a national organization that gathers nearly 50 men from Tallmadge UMC at the church for monthly meetings.
The men in the work group have a simple goal: they want to help out with church repairs and make a difference in the surrounding communities. They spend their Thursdays mowing the church's 5 acres of grass, trimming the shrubs, installing new light fixtures around the church property and performing routine maintenance.
"We try to do the work around the church to save money," said Gene Keener.
They've also tried their hand at reaching out into the community to do good deeds for others. In the spring, with nearly 100 volunteers from the church and community, the group went out and performed more than 20 different repair jobs -- including building a wheelchair ramp, painting, clearing brush, building steps and washing windows. These projects were identified by church members who knew someone who needed help with work.
"We're really trying to put Christ's love into action," said Jack Metcalf.
The group accepted no payment for the jobs they did.
"David Taylor and Jack Metcalf organized over 80 of us together to go out into our community and help repair homes, build ramps and clean other people's property," said Tallmadge United Methodist Church Pastor the Rev. Bill Liming. "I needed to be able to see the faith we talk about live out in the sweat and work of our hands."
The group doesn't stop there. The men also help with the church's annual rummage sale by collecting large items, placing them into storage, hauling them to the sale and delivering the large purchases to the buyers. The sale, which raised around $6,500, was a success due to the more than 100 people from church who volunteered.
As part of the Society of St. Andrew, the men visit area farms to collect leftover vegetables and donate them to local food pantries or kitchens. Recently, the group picked seven bushels of green beans. The group helps to make sure people in need in the community get garden-fresh fruits and vegetables.
"We like to get our hands dirty," said Milt Mayhew with a grin.
The men are also actively involved in the Tallmadge City Schools' Dare to Share program, where they help distribute food to elementary school aged children who are eligible for free and reduced price lunches and may not have access to food at home on the weekends.
Additionally, the group also helps raise funds so the church youth groups can go on mission trips. Most of the funding comes from the efforts of the work group and the entire Methodist Men's Group.
This fall the group is planning an outreach project called "Raking it to the streets," a play on the Doobie Brothers' song, "Taking it to the streets."
The project, which would involve raking leaves for elderly residents, is still in the planning stages, but information will be released to the community as the event's date draws closer.