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Looking to make a difference one Saturday a month? Come to Taylorsville United Methodist Church.

Serving Second Saturday, or S.S.S., is a new outreach ministry of the church seeking to offer an opportunity for people in the church and the community to volunteer for hands-on service the second Saturday of every month.

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"Years ago, it finally came to me that I couldn't sit around and claim to be a follower of Jesus without doing something to love my neighbor," said Richard Nace, a member of the church. "There are all sorts of opportunities to do that, and this is just one."

The Rev. Sarah Dorrance, church pastor, said the program is launching for many reasons.

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"Young people want to make a difference, but they don't always know how to do that," she said. "We say, 'If you want to make a difference, you can come make it here.' We also want to connect to people who might not have a faith connection but are looking to make a difference. It's about being part of a relationship and about being part of a community."

Dorrance said each Saturday event will offer S.S.S. a different project.

The first service event is set for Saturday, and those who turn out will be volunteering at SERRV International in New Windsor.

SERRV International promotes the social and economic progress of people in developing regions of the world by purchasing and marketing their crafts in a just and direct manner, and artisans are paid fair wages for their work.

"SERRV makes an impact on people in Third World countries who make a living by their crafts," Dorrance said. "Usually, volunteering at SERRV is a sit-down job. You're unpacking crafts sent in by Third World artisans, making sure [the items are] not chipped or broken, making sure they meet the quality inspection, counting and that sort of thing."

Nace said it's low-impact work but important work.

"From my understanding, [items are from] small mom-and-pop businesses in Third World countries who wouldn't be able to break out of the poverty they are in without SERRV," Nace said. "With their help, the small businesses or entrepreneurs can build themselves up and become self-sufficient."

In the future, S.S.S. plans to work with Carroll County Habitat for Humanity to help build homes, to pack health kits for the United Methodist Committee on Relief and to pack Christmas gifts into shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

"The November [S.S.S.] falls on the same day as our church bazaar," Dorrance said. "We wondered how we could do this and have our bazaar, so what we are going to do is: In two rooms, we will have two projects set up. One is Operation Christmas Child, where we have already purchased items and people will be putting them in the shoe boxes."

Operation Christmas Child is an international program of the nonprofit Samaritan's Purse. Started by Franklin Graham, the group recruits churches and organizations to pack a shoe box with items for a child, including a toy, health care items and school supplies. They are distributed to needy children worldwide at Christmas.

"In the second room, we will be putting together UMCOR kits," Dorrance said of the November S.S.S. "This program is one the United Methodist Church does very well. Whenever you hear about a disaster, they are there with relief. They have central warehouses with health care kits, cleanup kits and birthing kits. We will have all the supplies. We just need the volunteers to put together the kits."

"What I like about this second Saturday thing is that we aren't calling people to come every day, or dedicate a year of their life," said Nace. "It's a chance for people in our community to reach out to places they will probably never see. Not all of us become missionaries in other countries, but we are all called to serve our neighbors, and here you can do it from pretty close to home. It's a chance to actually do something instead of just give money. We don't always have money, but most of us do have a little bit of time and we can find opportunities to help."

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To get involved

Anyone may volunteer for the Serving Second Saturday program. To participate, come to Taylorsville United Methodist Church, 4356 Ridge Road, Taylorsville.

Some driving could be required and age limitations might apply.

Scheduled dates and service projects are:

Saturday, Sept. 13 — SERRV in New Windsor. Arrive at the church at 8:30 a.m. Must be at least 12 years old.

Saturday, Oct. 11 — Carroll County Habitat for Humanity. Arrive at 7:30 a.m. For ages 16 and older; those 16 to 18 years old must have a parent with them. Bring tools, if possible

Saturday, Nov. 8 — Making health kits for the United Methodist Committee on Relief and shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. For all ages, from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 13 — Will be serving in the Baltimore hub operation center for Operation Christmas Child. Arrive at 8:30 a.m.

For more information, call the church at 410-875-4101.

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