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Arms Around Selma touches lives

Volunteers build wheelchair ramp, rake neighbors’ yards

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SELMA — Volunteers gathered on Saturday to share the spirit of Thanksgiving with others.

The annual Arms Around Selma community service project offered people of all ages the opportunity to pay it forward through building a wheelchair ramp, raking yards, roof repairs and painting fences.

Volunteers also offered communion to residents at Autumn Home Care in Selma, help for people re-entering the job market through a job readiness skill workshop, cleaning out a large storage closet at Selma Elementary School and walking through uptown Selma holding prayer with local business owners.

Kelton Hinton, director of missions for the Johnston Baptist Association, said 60 volunteers showed up for the 10th annual event sponsored by the Selma Ministries Association.

Five volunteers built a wheelchair ramp in just four hours for a disabled Selma man. Three were from Selma Tabernacle Church of God and two volunteers were from the Kenly Missionary Baptist Church.

Sidney Dunston of 8113 N.C. 96 N. said he was unable to get out of the house for his last doctor’s appointment.

“Having them do this for me makes me feel good about people,” said Dunston, 71. “I retired as a state employee 10 years ago and can no longer walk.”

Dunston’s sister-in-law, Pricilla Royal, said the Dunstons found out a couple of weeks ago that their project had been approved.

“I love it, we can now carry Sidney out using his wheelchair,” said Royal. “It’s very generous of these people whom God sent. We’re all supposed to support and help one another.”

“I thought everything went really well,” said Selma Ministries Association President the Rev. Sammy Evans. “Anytime we can get out for a day serving Jesus, whether’s two or 200 voluntters, we’re doing the Lord’s will.”

Cindy Phillips, a Selma native, said she’s participated in Arms Around Selma for the past several years. Phillips and a group of eight adults and three children spent the morning raking four yards.

“We all enjoyed it,” said Phillips. “I was raised in Selma and my father is retired from the town’s electric department. I love working with elderly people.”

For Elizabeth Ashley, a social worker for Selma Elementary and Selma Middle schools, this was her first time.

“I thought it was cool, bringing the entire community together,” said Ashley. “Working as a team, we were able to paint a fence at a lady’s house. It was cool.”

Volunteers worked 19 service projects from 8 a.m. until noon and enjoyed lunch at St. John’s AME Church in Selma. On Sunday, Arms Around Selma leaders presented a report at the Selma Ministries Association’s annual community Thanksgiving service held at Edgerton Memorial United Methodist Church in Selma.

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