Great Days of Service began Aug. 5, but community acts of kindness are planned throughout the entire month.
Great Days of Service Mayes County is an ougrowth of the Great Days of Service week in Sherman, Texas, in Grayson County. Grayson County is a sister county through the O.D. Jock Mayor Foundation. Mayor lived in both counties and left substantial funds in his will to promote each.
The Sherman project began in 1996 in a town hall meeting when a citizen remarked that the community needed something that would bring it together.
The result is a week-long event filled with community service projects performed by civic and church groups as well as citizen volunteers.
Great Days of Service Mayes County began in October 2007. Since that time, it has seen volunteers collect tens of thousands of pounds of food for Mayes County food pantries, thousands of toys for underprivileged children and clothing for families, sew baby blankets for newborns, perform beautification projects throughout the county and visit the elderly.
Last year, nearly 17,000 pounds of food was gathered from the annual door-to-door food collections. Grocery bags are distributed to residences with instructions to fill with non-perishables from their own pantries. Sacks are left on the front porch for volunteers to collect several days later.
Food is also collected at area grocery stores and several businesses are drop-off spots for food donations.
Pryor’s Church of Christ hosted an appreciation luncheon for the many food drive volunteers needed for such a large project. They will do so again this year.
Last year, Saint Martin of Tour’s Episcopal Church hosted Oktoberfest, a fundraiser for the local Boys & Girls Club and a new kitchen for the church which serves many community functions.
First Christian Presbyterian Church hosted an appreciation dinner for volunteers; Pryor Rotary Club did a beautification project at Centennial Park; Your Place Church hosted a Foster Care Fall Festival to meet needs of the many foster children in Mayes County.
Project “Sew Much Love” reflected a partnership of many faith-based sewing clubs in the county. Eighty-five baby blankets were sewn and distributed to newborns and babies through the Pryor Ministries Center, Mayes County Health Department and Salina Cherokee Clinic.
Fifty-seven lap quilts and baby quilts were made by county quilting clubs. The quilts were distributed to children and senior citizens of Mayes County. Every veteran residing in a Mayes County nursing home received a lap quilt.
Salina Chamber of Commerce performed a Salina Park cleanup project for Great Days of Service.
Catholic Charities and St. Mark Catholic Church hosted their annual coat drive collecting, cleaning and distributing coats to Mayes County residents in need.
The Mayes County Leadership Academy led the beautification project dedicated to the W.A. Graham Community Center building renovation.
A matching fund grant from the Jock Mayor Foundation got the group started. Matching funds were raised, in-kind gifts were given and many hundreds of volunteer hours were contributed. All walls received a fresh coat of paint, the floor was replaced, all molding was replaced, repairs were made, the ceiling was replaced, ceiling fans were replaced and new window treatments were hung.
A new sign was designed, created and hung as a gift from Premiere Sign Company and its owner Justin Hare.
Beautification projects were completed at several Pryor schools as well as the Mayes County Fairgrounds.
Salina High School Student Council members completed projects in their school district, cleaning schools and doing several painting projects.
This week also serves as the launch for the upcoming Angel Tree project which provides holiday gifts for children in need.
For information on this year’s projects or to suggest a project, contact the Pryor Area Chamber of Commerce at (918) 825-0157.