There is no denying that as Lake Nona residents, we are privileged to live in a beautiful and welcoming community. Oftentimes, it is difficult to know just how to give back to the community and serve our neighbors. Nona Church is dedicated to cultivating opportunities for Lake Nona residents to serve the community. This past summer, Nona Church hosted Summer Serve Day, an event that brought over 250 community members together to benefit community partners. Last fall, Nona Church served the Lake Nona community by hosting their first ever Be Rich campaign. This year, Nona Church will provide Lake Nona residents with another opportunity to give back by not only hosting the second year of the Be Rich campaign but also hosting their first ever Fall Serve Day.
The Be Rich campaign is based on three components: Give, Serve and Love. The campaign aims to unleash a wave of generosity onto the community and enforces the message that no matter who you are and no matter what you can give, your contributions matter. The title “Be Rich” comes from an encouragement used in the first century church to “be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.” Throughout the entire month of November, Nona Church members and Lake Nona residents could donate to the Be Rich campaign as a means of impacting the community. Since the launch of the campaign, Nona Church members raised over $24,500 to help their neighbors. With these proceeds, Nona Church visits local schools and charities to find out what would make a big difference for them and what contributions Nona Church could make that would help these local schools and charities in order to make it easier for them to accomplish their work to the best of their ability.
Last year, Nona Church vetted $12,000 worth of projects. Thanks to the generosity of the community, this year Nona Church vetted $20,000 worth of projects. Based on the money that’s raised, Nona Church then supports the needs of the local organizations, providing them with resources that they didn’t have before. At Lake Nona Middle School, the Be Rich campaign will help to put on a teacher appreciation breakfast, and at Northlake Park Elementary School, the campaign will help to support a schoolwide initiative. The point of this is to emphasize the love that Nona Church has for the community.
The Be Rich campaign has also allowed Nona Church to support the Central Florida YMCA’s teens in Tangelo Park, one of the most under-resourced neighborhoods in Orlando. The teen center in Tangelo Park serves as a safe place for teenagers to be, but it is in need of some restorations. Nona Church will pay for all renovations being made to the teen center. Additionally, some Tangelo Park teenagers are interested in attending college but, unfortunately, do not have access to resources to even go on college tours. Nona Church will be donating $1,000 to the Central Florida YMCA’s scholarship fund so that a greater number of students can go on the college tours.
“The foundation for all of this and the motivation for all of this is that we’ve been loved by Jesus, and we want to extend that love to others, no strings attached because that’s what love is,” says Pastor Collin Outerbridge. “The reason why we do this is because we care about people, and what motivates us to care about people as much as we do is because we have been cared for.”
On Nov. 23, Nona Church continued to demonstrate their love by hosting Fall Serve Day, an event that invites members of the Lake Nona community to not only give back but to get out into the community and serve local organizations. The day presented Lake Nona residents with a chance to participate in giving back to their community through service. More than 500 hours of community service will be done this season with residents participating in a variety of service opportunities. Available service opportunities included: general landscaping and restoration for Choices Women’s Clinic; unloading and setting up Christmas trees for the Christmas tree sale at the Central Florida Children’s Home; visiting Somerby Retirement Community with treats, snacks, and games and getting to know the residents; creating Thanksgiving baskets for the residents of the VA; and creating care kits for 15 families at the Ronald McDonald House. Fall Serve Day will also carry over to a packing party on Dec. 8 to benefit Feeding Children Everywhere. Volunteers at this event will pack thousands of meals for people both in the Lake Nona community and globally who struggle with food insecurity.
“No matter what you believe, we can all make a difference,” says Outerbridge. “This is an opportunity for us to demonstrate, in very real and tangible ways, our belief that God has been generous to us by giving us Jesus, and our response should be generosity to others.”
Church can be just a place you go or a place whose members go and make a difference. In our community, Nona Church is #ForNona. Its congregation aims to be the church, taking on any opportunity to demonstrate their love and dedication for their neighbors. The Be Rich campaign and Fall Serve Day will make a difference in the community and demonstrate the love the church has for their neighbors. Any contribution, no matter how big or small, makes a difference when it comes to positive impact in the community.
If you are interested in donating to the Be Rich campaign, you may give in person by visiting Nona Church or donate online by going to https://nonachurch.com/give and selecting the option to give online. If you are interested in participating in either of the Fall Serve Day events, please visit https://nonachurch.com/events and select Be Rich Serve Day.