‘Serve Tour’ Plans to Restore Dayton Communities: How You Can Help

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – This October, 1,200 volunteers from across the country will gather in Dayton. You will spend a weekend conducting service projects to improve neighborhoods throughout the Miami Valley. It is part of the Southern Baptist Convention’s “Serve Tour.” But before we get started, the organizers need your help.

“I love our neighborhood,” Joyce Hines, who has lived in Old North Dayton all her life, told 2 News host Lauren Wood. “I’ve lived in North Dayton all my life. Born here in North Dayton.”

Joyce Hines has called Old North Dayton home for nearly 75 years. She and her husband Jack have lived in this house for 48 years. You’ve seen the neighborhood through its ups and downs: including the 2019 Memorial Day tornadoes.

“It was only three blocks from our house,” Joyce said. “And very devastating. Many people have lost their homes. Didn’t have insurance. Some of them are still down and not back where they should be.”

But a major service initiative coming to the Miami Valley wants to help. The Southern Baptist Convention’s annual Serve Tour will be coming to Dayton this October. About 1,200 volunteers are expected to take part in projects you have proposed.

“Serve Tour is a way for our local churches to truly bless our community,” said Dr. John Heading, Director of Disaster Relief for the Ohio State Convention of Baptists and Project Manager of Serve Tour Dayton. We’re not here to tell our community what to do, but to ask, “What do you need?” How can we get involved?’”

Heading invites neighbors, schools and city leaders to submit project ideas.

“The good thing about the projects that we do: We will also pay for them all,” said Heading. “And that’s why we’re not like, ‘Hey, can we help you? We want you to pay for it.” We’ll cover all of that. We want to bless our communities.”

North Dayton Baptist Church is one of three hubs for the Dayton leg of the Serve Tour. But Heading says volunteers will be spread throughout the area to show the Miami Valley the love of Christ through acts of service.

“As the hands and feet of Jesus, we need to be in our neighborhood,” Heading said. “Who we are does not depend on the building. It’s about our relationship as believers. And how do we help individuals? How do we get into our neighborhoods?”

Joyce and Jack have been attending North Dayton Baptist Church for decades.
They’re thrilled to see it at the heart of this project… and seeing how it’s impacting the neighborhoods they love.

“Our kids keep saying, ‘Why don’t you guys move?’ Hines said, “Well… it’s our home, except for the nursing home or our heavenly home. So I’d like to see the neighborhood recover.”

If you know of a project you’d like to see at the Serve Tour, Heading says you can email him directly at jheading@scbo.org

He will compile a list and the volunteers will do as much as they can during the Serve Tour weekend, October 7th and 8th, 2022. If you are interested in volunteering as an individual or as a church, you can also contact Heading at the same email address.

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