Hands on Kirkwood service event this Saturday, Oct. 5


Photo courtesy of Jason Norton

Hands On Kirkwood volunteers stand outside of Kirkwood Baptist Church.

Hands on Kirkwood (HOK) returns Saturday, Oct. 5 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. The community service project involves 23 churches and organizations partnering with individual citizens to improve Kirkwood and build relationships. HOK is looking for volunteers to help with the following activities:

Home Projects: Volunteers do yard work and repair around 60 Kirkwood homes. HOK is looking for more volunteers.

Neighborhood Bag Pickup: On Sept. 28, volunteers went door to door distributing bags around Kirkwood and asking for food and toiletries. HOK needs volunteers on Oct. 5 to collect the filled bags for KirkCare, Nurses for Newborns and St. Louis Community College – Meramec Food Pantry.

Winter Clothing Store (Donation Distribution): HOK is giving away free winter clothing in Kirkwood Baptist Church’s gymnasium. Anyone can receive clothing with no questions asked. HOK needs more volunteers and also still accepts high demand items like new hats, gloves, underwear and socks.

Electronic Recycling: HOK is providing free recycling for old electronics (with the exception of some TVs which carry a fee). The event is located at St. Louis Community College – Meramec and goes from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Father Dickson Cemetery Clean-up: Father Dickson Cemetery (the oldest African-American cemetery west of the Mississippi River) was in disrepair 10 years ago. Since then, every year HOK has worked on repairing the cemetery to redevelop it. The project continues this year and needs more volunteers.

Winterize Car Care Check-up: A free car check of fluids, oil, tire inflation and battery available for anybody. Cars are checked from 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Kirkwood Baptist Church.

Paper Shredding: Free shredding of confidential papers (tax papers, etc.) at the parking lot of Enterprise Bank & Trust from 9:30 a.m. -12 p.m.

Pillow Drive: HOK needs pillows donated for Home Sweet Home, an organization which helps transition homeless people into homes.

Online Donations: HOK is accepting online donations for Nurses for Newborns, KirkCare and Home Sweet Home. Donate HERE.

Volunteers can register to help with the events listed above HERE. Following their registration they will receive information from their project leader about the event. On Oct. 5, all volunteers will meet at Kirkwood Baptist Church at 8:30 a.m. before dispatching to their individual projects.

Kirkwood Baptist Church began HOK as a community outreach program in 2007. Jason Norton, who leads HOK with his wife Cindy, said they partnered with Harrison Avenue Baptist Church (which is predominantly African-American) early on to bridge the racial divide in Kirkwood. According to Norton, there was renewed focus on this divide following the 2008 city hall shooting. A surge of churches and organizations joined HOK, leading to the 23 organizations which participate today. This year, Norton projects 600 volunteers will help members of the community. He encourages people to like and share their Facebook page to increase awareness.

“We hope to change people that day,” Norton said. “We want to give help that changes the trajectories of people’s lives. At the end of the day, those are all byproducts of the bigger picture which is creating relationships in the community to make it stronger.”