Grace Church of Racine is gathering a veritable army of volunteers to make a real and lasting impact in the community that starts with a single day.

Convoy of Hope, an international organization that brings needed services to underserved to communities and those damaged by disaster, will visit Racine Sept. 17 at Walden III, 1012 Center Street. The goal is to help families and individuals connect to both short- and long-term solutions like free medical and dental check-ups, bags of groceries filled with food for a couple of days, haircuts and services to help with jobs, access to affordable housing and more.

Danny D’Acquisto, director of missions at Grace, said bringing Convoy of Hope to Racine has been a year-long effort involving more than 20 area churches. Through those faith communities and with the cooperation of local leaders in government and other organizations, committees were formed to find donors, get the word out and find volunteers.

The goal, he said, is to for people to engage with neighbors they might not otherwise meet.

“We are all created in God’s image with a unique dignity and worth no matter where we find ourselves in our lives,” D’Acquisto added. “Convoy of Hope is a way to mix up the city socially in ways that might not otherwise exist.”

A total of 800 to 1,000 volunteers are needed to make the day a success for the 3,000 to 5,000 guests the Convoy expects to serve. So far, D’Acquisto said, there are around 200 volunteers who registered online, so another 600 to 800 individuals are needed, but he’s not worried.

There is a rally at 7 p.m. Sept. 16 at Grace Church, 3626 Highway 31, to get people in the spirit and so volunteers can get the information they need to make the Convoy a smooth success.

“We’ve been told that most volunteers wait until the week before an event to register or even just show up at the rally the night before the Convoy,” he said.

To volunteer for the Racine Convoy of Hope, click here for the registration form. There is a large “Volunteer” button on the left side of the page.

With the exception of barbers and beauticians, doctors, dentists and nurses, most volunteers will be assigned a job when they check in the morning of the Convoy; anything from serving lunch to helping children pick out shoes to set up and clean up.

And there is still time for churches and other groups to get involved, D’Acquisto explained. Click here for information on how to register a church or group to participate.

“The more the merrier, really,” he stated.

As for what the Convoy aims to accomplish in the greater Racine area after it leaves, D’Acquisto warned against expecting quantifiable results and stressed the point is to pull people together when so much normally seems to keep neighbors apart.

“The impact might not be measurable, but it will be felt,” he said. “We’ll see it in some of the relationships that begin and the way people from across the community connect.”

Making the Convoy a success also takes donations. Estimates put the cost of the day at around $60,000, and anyone who wants to give can do so at the Convoy of Hope Racine page.

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