It has been said before that each person is given two hands for a reason: one for helping himself and one for helping others. Helping others who are in need is the main idea behind ReImagine Thomaston, a free event for the community which will take place on Saturday, March 15, 2014 at 202 Park Lane. At ReImagine, members of the community in need will be able to receive food, clothing, diapers, health screening, haircuts, information from community agencies and much more at no charge as churches, businesses and organizations come together to help the less fortunate of our area.
ReImagine is a project of Doers of the Word Ministry, a non-profit organization that was the brainchild of Greg and Linda English of Pensacola, Florida. The couple had been taking mission trips to Peru for more than decade and after helping those communities, they knew they wanted to be able to give something back to their own. Linda had worked with the Escambia County School District for 33 years and it was a conversation with a teacher friend about wanting to go further than the school district could for families in need that inspired the idea of ReImagine. The event is described as “a project that seeks to impart the love of God and to promote unity within the body of Christ by building relationships within a given community between its residents, ministries, and area resources,” on their website reimagineworldwide.org.
“We just want to be able to bless people and have them bless all of us (the volunteers) in return,” said Linda. “Every week at church, our pastors are telling us to get outside the four walls of the building and be Christ lovers. This is a way we just get to love on people.”
Linda also noted the event is a way the community can come together regardless of race, denomination or worship style.
“Sometimes we are very divided on a Sunday morning. There is so much more we can do for people as a united front. These events just let us explode.”
Over the past six years, the couple has seen the events grow to serve between 4,000 and 5,000 people at a time, something they never imagined when they held the first one. There have seen needs be met in ways they could not have dreamed. Linda shared one story of how she felt the Lord working in an amazing way when she and Greg talked with The Thomaston Times last week.
During one of the recent events, there was a lady who came through the food line. It was her daughter’s 18th birthday that day and she desperately wanted to fix her a nice dinner, but did not have enough money to buy any food to feed the entire family, let alone something special. As she was receiving her donations, the woman thought to herself that it would be nice if some of the items she received were the ingredients to make a cake, but just considered it a passing thought and never mentioned it to anyone else there. When she made it to the end of the line and was waiting to get some bread, the volunteer that was helping pass out items went to grab one of the boxes, but then felt something tell her to pick up a different one. In the box she picked up was a cake that had been donated, and it already said Happy Birthday. The mother was amazed at how her every need for that day had been met.
“It is the little things like that, that let you know you are doing the right thing,” said Linda.
ReImagine Thomaston is the first ReImagine event that has been done outside of Florida and Linda and Greg could not be more excited about the amazing support they have received from citizens in the Upson County community. At a volunteer meeting held Monday of last week, things needed for the event, such as volunteers, racks to hang clothes on and medical supplies were mentioned and before the meeting was over, many of those items had been taken care of. Those in attendance immediately got their cell phones out and began contacting people who they thought could help with a particular need, something Greg and Linda said they have not ever had happen.
“We have been more excited about this event than any of the others we have ever done. Thomaston has just gone above and beyond when it comes to planning this event. The unity and love that we have seen here throughout the community while here is one we have not experienced before,” said Linda.
You may be wondering how a couple from Florida found their way to Thomaston, Georgia and the answer shows how small the world that we live in can be. Greg’s mother’s family is originally from Barnesville and he and his siblings spent their summers there while growing up. Throughout that time, Greg fell in love with the area and knew that one day he would want to make it back up here to live. About seven years ago, he and Linda bought the old Barker farm out at The Rock and they have been living between here and Florida ever since.
While they were up here one day, Linda was waiting on the satellite company to install their equipment and she began talking with the technician about what they do in Florida, which led to the conversation about doing a ReImagine event in this area. They each started talking with friends and before long, the idea of ReImagine Thomaston was born.
“There are a lot of good hearted people in this area who want to help those in need,” said Greg.
There is still time to sign up to help with the event, whether it is through a donation or by volunteering your time. Linda noted there is always a need for more volunteers at these events, so no one is ever turned away for wanting to lend a hand. Anyone wishing to be a part of ReImagine Thomaston should contact Linda English at 850-454-5280 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Greg English at 850-712-8387 or email@example.com.
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1