6,500 church volunteers.
More than 300 community service projects.
On Saturday, May 16, a group of friends and I, along with thousands of others, gathered on a stormy, wet Cincinnati morning, at Crossroads Community Church.
It wasn't even 8:30 a.m.
Have you ever been in a room filled with thousands of other people - without an open seat in sight - all gathered together, at the same time, same place, with the same mission/goal?
Try it sometime. I highly recommend it.
So what brought us all together?
Two words: GO Cincinnati.
GO involves an army of church volunteers impacting Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky through various service projects in a one-day, citywide blitz of compassion by loving-on hundreds of community-based organizations throughout the city.
Last year, more than 4,000 people from Crossroads and other partner churches went out into the city to serve the homeless, pray with the broken, paint schools, clean camps and help make a difference in the city.
This year, they had a goal of 5,000 volunteers, 200 projects.
But God had other plans and instead, 6,500 people showed up.
This year's GO "anthem" was The Robbie Seay Band's "Rise." They couldn't have picked a more perfect anthem for energizing the army of volunteers gathered at the "pep rally."
Our group was assigned to Dohn Community High School in Clifton. We did everything from painting, moving boxes of books, to helping out wherever we were needed.
We were a sweaty, dirty, dusty, paint-splattered mess, but in the end, we met a lot of cool people, and most importantly, for four hours, we breathed hope and a new sense of vitality into the halls of a school that needed some aesthetical TLC.
New this year to the GO blitz, was GO Grub, a block party feast, held after the service projects, in Washington Park for the volunteers and the OTR community.
David Falk - chef at Boca Restaurant - gathered his 13 industry-chef friends from the city's finest restaurants such as Nicola's, Nada, Boca, Daveed's and Bootsy's (to name a few), to provide a massive feast that included some mighty fine grub (and I was even able to get some vegan options!)
Click here and here to view footage of the fête.
To see some of the inner city residents enjoying, what surely must've been their first gourmet meal, was simply priceless.
Falk did a really good thing. He will be truly blessed for it. And hearing him share his testimony at the rally was even more of a blessing for those who heard it.
There were many sights, sounds, smells and emotions that afternoon in the park, but somehow, this woman's happy dance seemed to sum it all up for me...
God is good.
Yes, He is.
Yes, He is.