Dozens of volunteers converged on Watson Street in Batavia this morning for an act of mercy and ministry.
The volunteers from Eight Days of Hope are in town because of Kingdom Bound at Darien Lake Theme Park but their mission this morning was to rehabilitate the home of an 85-year-old widow, Miss Rose, on Watson Street.
"Our whole big thing is love and serve those in need," said Steve Tybor, director and founder of Eight Days of Hope. "There is so much need across America, so much discord right now in our country, we want to give people a glimpse of hope."
Eight Days of Hope is based in Tupelo, Miss., but Tybor said a satellite ministry will open in Buffalo in August. The focus of the ministry is serving those touched by natural disaster, such as residents of Houston after Hurricane Harvey. In Houston, 4,692 volunteers, over back-to-back eight-day periods, rebuilt more than 800 homes, doing more than $10.5 million in work for those victims.
"This is what we do after a natural disaster but this, in essence, is like a human disaster, where somebody has a need and nowhere to turn," Tybor said.
This morning, two hours into the work, the volunteers were more than halfway done with the home of Miss Rose, so the volunteers were turning to other tasks in the neighborhood.
They were in front yards up and down the block and on Jackson Street pulling weeds, cutting grass, trimming edges and looking for anything else they do could help out a neighbor in need.
"We're also doing landscaping door-to-door and helping the neighborhood take it up a notch as far as the looks," Tybor said. "They’re beautiful homes but sometimes people need an extra hand and that’s what our volunteers are doing."
The volunteers come from nine states, including from as far away as Texas.
"We’re a faith-based ministry but it's nine-different denominations," Tybor said. "It’s the Catholics and the Baptists and the Pentecostals coming together, setting aside our differences and just loving and serving people in need."
The home on Watson was identified with the help of Pastor Marty Macdonald at City Church. Last year, the ministry helped a Batavia veteran whose home had been flooded. Tybor said the ministry will be back in Batavia during next year's Kingdom Bound.
"We love Batavia," Tybor said. "We’re glad we’re here. We’re glad to be part of Kingdom Bound. It’s a great ministry and we’re going to do this every year during Kingdom Bound, find somebody in need in Batavia and just love and serve them."
A volunteer prays for Sgt. Dan Coffey after Coffey stopped on Watson to check out the work.