Volunteers are common at the Urban Ministry Center, but homeless clients will see something new in July when country star and Celebrity Apprentice alum Trace Adkins shows up to help.
Adkins visit is part of a series of prizes won this month by the agency in a national online contest sponsored by Maxwell House.
More than 100,000 votes were cast and the Urban Ministry ultimately placed in the top three, along side community centers in Detroit and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
All three each get a $50,000 grant for needed charity projects, along with the three days of free labor.
Only Charlotte gets Adkins, however.
Hell be among up to 200 volunteers wholl help do renovation and exterior work on the century-old Seaboard train depot on North Tryon Street that houses the centers offices.
It will take place July 21-24, with Adkins showing up on the final morning to do work and participate in a ribbon cutting, organizers said.
Coincidentally, the Urban Ministry intends to stay open for business throughout the project, meaning 600 homeless people could end up rubbing elbows with 6-foot-6 Adkins, who may be best recognized as the husky voice over in KFC commercials.
Media coverage of his appearance is expected to bring national attention to the centers more innovative programs, which include soccer and arts classes for the homeless.
Im stunned, said Dale Mullennix of the Urban Ministry.
It has been amazing how the community responded to this contest. Everywhere I go, Im meeting people who voted for us. We dont know exactly how many votes were cast for us, but wed love to know.
Maxwell House isnt saying, however.
The coffee giants Drops of Good program is providing the money in partnership with Rebuilding Together, a nonprofit that does critical repairs for charities, the elderly and disabled.
Amy Gough, executive director of Rebuilding Together of the Carolinas, is rounding up volunteers for the Urban Ministry project. It will include painting, repairs and reconfiguring the depots interior so the ministry can help more homeless people.
Gough is also a big Trace Adkins fan.
Well have something special for him to do, Gough said, laughing. He might want to use some power tools.