If some locations around North Royalton look a bit cleaner, ready to welcome in the spring weather, they should. Thirty-six locations around North Royalton received some tender loving care and attention from more than 260 members of Royal Redeemer Lutheran Church the weekend of May 5 and 6. It was the annual Servant Weekend. After a hearty breakfast, volunteers headed out to their assigned locations.
For the past decade, members of Royal Redeemer have volunteered to help neighbors, strangers and others get ready for spring. The year 2023 is no exception. The volunteers spanned the gamut: young, old, guys, gals, and all with one purpose – to bring the spirit of Jesus into the lives of the people they were helping.
Armed with garden tools, lawn and leaf bags, and plenty of energy, these volunteers did their jobs and made some new friends along the way.
Volunteers showed up at Pat Prizzi’s home on Julia Drive; and was she happy to see them! “I just can’t keep up with the yard work. I can use the help. I appreciate this so much. They are doing God’s work,” said Pat.
Royal Redeemer’s Pastor John Zahrte was among those lending a helping hand on Julia Drive. “We want people to know that we care about them. We, as a church, have been called together, we have also been called to serve. In this community, we are the hands, the feet and the heart of Jesus to other people. As much of a blessing as we can be to people of this community, we are blessed. We are filled with joy to help people of this community.”
In another part of the community, volunteers were picking up branches, limbs and twigs at the home of John Williams and Charlotte Heppner. “This work allows us to continue to live in our home. To have them spread the gravel on our driveway is something we can’t do,” said John.
“I can’t thank these young men enough and the Royal Redeemer family for thinking of us every year. My wheelchair got stuck in the mud trying to do work around the yard. This is a huge help,” said Charlotte.
Among those helping on Julia Drive were Russ Leanza and his son, Zach. “We are the Church,” said Zach. “We love to help people. Lots of people say that someone else can do that. Well, we, the folks that are here, are the someone else to do these jobs.”
Another volunteer, whom we will identify as Paul, said, “I didn’t mind being the hands and the feet of Jesus today. He gave us great weather to help people in the community.”
Church leaders are looking at expanding servant weekend in the next year. The plan is to get the students who attend the Royal Redeemer Day School involved with the program.
“The goal is to take the Friday off and to have the school’’ students, their teachers and their parents go out into the community. The school is a ministry of our church. Hopefully, our students will learn how important this is, the value of community and the joy of helping others,” said Pastor Zahrte.
“Everybody who does this (Servant weekend) once, wants to do it again,” said Pastor Zahrte. “There’s so much good that comes out of this program.”
By JOE JASTRZEMSKI