Ministry Opportunities in Polk County
On-Site Children's Ministry
Volunteers can provide Bible lessons, crafts, games, transportation, and or meals to children at the local park, in small neighborhoods, at the local Boys and Girls Club, and/or at local churches. Opportunities are flexible, and seasoned volunteers from Polk County with established relationships with the children are here to help you!
Donate food or use provided to pack meals for children with or without the assistance of FGL volunteers. Hot/cold meals need to be packed and delivered every week on Monday mornings. Snack packs need to also need to be prepared to send home with children. Food is usually packed at Smyrna Baptist Church, but snack pack items may be transported to another location to facilitate the effort for volunteers. We also need volunteers to pick up the unpacked food in coolers from Cleveland (about 20 min. away from Smyrna Baptist Church. There are lots of ways volunteers can participate!
People Helping People is a local nonprofit organization that provides clothing, food, and other items to those in need. PHP receives donations from local community members; however, these items need to be sorted and tagged. This volunteer opportunity can be conducted fully inside - great for inclement weather days!
Put your handymen (or women) to work building wheelchair ramps, fixing unsafe steps to trailers, repairing holes in trailer floors, doing maintenance work at Camp Agape, doing yard work, planting a tomato plant at a child’s home, etc.
Help Local Schools/Organizations/Impoverished Areas
Painting, prayer walks, school supply donations, snack pack donations, and landscaping are all needs at local Polk County Schools, churches, Boys and Girls Club, local share boxes, trailer parks, subsidized housing areas, etc.
Don’t Forget about Recreation!
Volunteers, both the young and young-at-heart, need time to refresh themselves and enjoy Christian Fellowship. Polk County offers numerous fun activities for the young and old alike. Ask about our group activity brochure for more info!
1. Why Polk County? Polk County’s impoverished children in rural Appalachia have a difficult time accessing resources. A mountain range and river separate the county in half. Added to that, the federal government owns almost half of the land in the county, limiting both infrastructure and the collection of property taxes that could be used to fund libraries, schools, etc. There is no public transportation, most homes are some distance from other homes; many areas do not have access to the internet or cell service; and pride and the accepted idea that childhood hunger is a normal part of life makes connecting children to resources challenging.
2. Where can our group stay? The best place to stay is Camp Agape. There are facilities for large group meals/gathering for worship; cabins are designed for family/ministry groups to remain together; and the area is spacious and very safe for children. However, we are happy to help you find alternative accommodations at local campsites, cabin rental businesses, or our one hotel (which is basic, but clean).
3. Where can our group eat? Camp Agape is equipped with a commercial kitchen to meet your group’s nutritional needs. There are a handful of small restaurants locally - Cajun Lady, Sonic, Hardees, McDonald’s, Ocoee Cafe, Los Poblanos, and Big Mamas. A wider variety of restaurants are in Cleveland, TN (about 20 min. away). If you would like to have meals catered from other sources, we can connect you with some people/restaurants who can assist you.
4. Can our group do door-to-door evangelism or an outreach outside a local business? Most people in Polk County consider themselves to be Christians (most identify as Baptists), and the area is very safe. However, rural Appalachian residents are suspicious of “outsiders.” Your group will be far more effective if FGL volunteers accompany you on your visits. A great way to interact with people at their homes is to help with food delivery (usually on Mondays).
5. Are there any restrictions/guidelines for ministry?
- Like most organizations working with children, we ask that all volunteers have a background check that specifically looks for assault, sex-related crimes, and crimes agains children.
- At no time should a youth or child be alone with one of the children at a ministry site. If a child needs restroom help, have the child exit the restroom if possible (button help) or have two volunteers inside the restroom (help pulling up/pulling down pants). Often, an older sibling will be on site and can be asked to help with restroom issues.
- Adults from the mission group must accompany youth under the age of 18 for any ministry work.
- Written/spoken profanity is prohibited.
- Clothing must be modest although summer ministry is hot, so shorts and modest tanks are fine. Consider bringing bathing suits for swimming/water games (no bikinis).
- Please do not lead our children in a group salvation prayer. Our demographic usually includes children from generational poverty, and they may “get saved” because they think they are required to do so to continue receiving food. Feel free to present the plan of salvation and offer a quiet time for children to speak with a leader.
- Tobacco/vaping products are prohibited where ministry is being conducted - even outside.
- Be sensitive to the needs of ministry children. Many of them have or have had a parent in prison, using drugs, acting in an abusive manner (physically/sexually), etc.
- Try not to insist on age-based groups. Some children will refuse to be separated from older or younger siblings.
- If there is a serious discipline problem, please alert a local volunteer, and we will address it.
Text for more info for volunteer opportunities! (423)716-7678
209 Smyrna Rd.
Ocoee, TN 37361