South Charlotte

Church to help 20 groups

Elevation Church is hoping to make an impact with a new community service initiative.

Elevation Church has agreed to serve 100,000 volunteer hours in one year, provide over $750,000 in financial resources to partnering organizations, and partner with 20 community organizations.

The church shared its plans with Mayor Anthony Foxx and will provide him with updates.

"We are averaging 9,000 people at our worship experiences each weekend now in Charlotte, and we want him (Foxx) to think of Elevation Church when he thinks 'where are we going to get the manpower for that?'" wrote Tonia Bendickson, communications director for Elevation Church, in an email.

Orange Initiative was established to "help fight to eradicate homelessness in Charlotte, invest in our schools, teachers and students in Mecklenburg County and to improve the quality of life for all people in our city."

"Twelve percent of everything that comes into Elevation Church goes toward impacting our world through outreach," said Bendickson. Orange Initiative is designed to help organizations that are already established have a greater impact in the Charlotte area. According to the Elevation Church website, the church believes that "spreading out the leaders, resources and manpower results in maximized exertion and minimized results."

Already this year, Elevation Church has served 36,659 hours of community outreach. "Love Week" in February was completed with 5,552 volunteers from 26 churches. They made more than 30,000 sandwiches for homeless neighbors, more than 60,000 meals were made for families in need, 17,277 shoes were processed for Samaritan's Feet, 3,458 hours were served at Hope Haven, and more than 500 gift baskets were made for teachers and police officers.

The first Orange Initiative project was to make 1,307 Mother's Day baskets for outreach partners.

During the next year, there will be monthly events that community members can help with.. Elevation Church opened its doors at Providence High School in February 2006. Elevation Church has expanded to four locations, Uptown at McGlohon Theatre; Matthews at Interstate 485 and Independence Boulevard; Blakeney on the corner of Ardrey Kell and Rea roads. The church has given more than $3 million to outreach partners over the past five years.