The rain did not dampen the spirit of nearly 200 volunteers on Saturday, October 13 who were participating in the 8th annual Great Days of Service in Bonham. As volunteers arrived at First Baptist, volunteers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints greeted the volunteers and got everyone checked in. For those who had signed up to clean up at local cemetery’s or other outdoor projects, they were given new projects to choose from. After they got checked in, volunteers were treated to a hot breakfast of pancakes and sausage prepared by volunteers from First United Methodist Church.
Pastor Chase Hinson from First Baptist Church in Bonham welcomed everyone and said an opening prayer. Sandy Barber gave directions to the volunteers and recognized all of the first year volunteers, as well as all who have participated 2 or more years. There was special recognition to the dozen or so people who have participated all 8 years. Barber also shared the vision and goals for Great Days of Service. She spoke about how this was a day to put aside differences and come together with others to take care of the sick, elderly, hungry and needy in our community, as well as clean up our town. Pastor Dana Coker with First United Methodist Church in Bonham gave the closing blessing and charge to the participants before they dispersed into several groups.
One group traveled a few blocks south to the downtown square where they helped sort clothing and do other work at The Isaiah’s Closet, which is a nonprofit that serves children in foster care. Other volunteers went a few blocks north on Center street to the Fannin Pregnancy Care Center. There they helped sort clothing and other supplies for the families served by this local non-profit agency.
Another group of volunteers went across town to the Fannin Health Clinic, which is located within the offices of the Fannin Baptist Association. Volunteers did some deep cleaning inside and outside of this building in order to keep the place fresh and clean for the patients of this free primary health care clinic for those who do not have health insurance.
Another group of volunteers braved the rain and unloaded recyclable items from cars and trucks at The Fannin County Pct 4 barn. This project helped recycle many electronics and other items, reduced the amount of things headed to local landfills and raised funds for The Fannin Literacy Council which provides free GED classes for adults.
A large group of volunteers of all ages traveled a few blocks north to Bailey Inglish School. There, the volunteers sorted and divided more than 12,000 food items that had been collected by Bonham ISD. Each campus of Bonham ISD held food drives in early October. IW Evans Intermediate collected 6,298 items, Finley Oates Elementary gathered 2,694 items, Bailey Inglish collected 1,675 items, LH Rather Junior High gathered 1,296 items and Bonham High School gathered 221 items. On Friday, the maintenance and grounds crews of Bonham ISD moved all of the collected food to Bailey Inglish campus. This year’s grand total of 12,184 items was a new record. The previous best was 10,250 collected in 2016. Once the food was sorted and divided, volunteers loaded it up in trucks and vans and transported to 4 local places where they unloaded it. Pantry shelves were reloaded at Fannin County Community Ministries, Manna House and the Fannin County Family Crisis Center. About 80 food items were also given to First Presbyterian in Bonham for their Blessing Box.
Another group of volunteers traveled to 2 local nursing homes to entertain residents with a 1950’s themed show. Volunteers sang and danced and several even wore poodle skirts and other clothes from the 1950’s.
After a morning of volunteering, many headed back to First Baptist church where they were treated to a hot dog lunch by Bethlehem Baptist Church.
The rain cancelled or postponed most of the projects that had been planned for outside. Bonham Kiwanis and the City of Bonham were leading the effort to paint parking lines and handicapped parking spaces at the Bonham Civic Center. They have rescheduled this work project for Saturday, Oct 27 at 8:00 am. Bonham High School’s National Honor Society, the City of Bonham and other community volunteers are planning to find a new day and time to do some needed maintenance work at Powder Creek Playground. Willow Wild Cemetery may also re-schedule their work day. Those interested in volunteering for any of the rescheduled projects should check the Great Days of Service website and/or Facebook page for announcements and details.