K-Love brings MAD tour to area
By Carol Waterloo Frazier
Published: Friday, May 10, 2013, 9:42 p.m.
Four times a year, K-Love's Scott Smith and Kelli Caldwell visit cities throughout the country to Make A Difference.
Next week they will be spending three days in the Pittsburgh area to help make a difference in the lives of people in those communities.
“Pittsburgh has been a city we've wanted to be a part of for some time,” Smith said. “Now that we have a full-time promotions guy there, we can do things. This is our first major event in Pittsburgh and we are looking forward to it.”
During their visit, the afternoon DJs will visit three sites. On Thursday, they will be at The Center For Hope in Ambridge, bagging food in the pantry and serving hot meals in Cafe Hope.
They will be at the Human Services Center Corp. in Turtle Creek on Friday to paint, clean, restock the food pantry and other projects.
They will wrap up their visit on Saturday at South Side Park in the South Side Slopes to paint, rake, sweep and clean up trash in and around the park.
While the number of volunteers are limited for the first two days, “there is no limit to how many people can come out and help on Saturday,” Smith said.
Not only will volunteers be working with the DJs, they will be serving alongside K-Love artists Chris August, Tim Timmons and possibly some others.
The Make A Difference tours started a few years ago, inspired by a story Smith heard while living in Orlando. “The inspiration came from a story of how small things you do can make a big impact on peoples' lives,” he said.
That story involved someone paying a 75-cent toll for the driver behind him. The man who received that gift was amazed that someone would pay his toll, Smith said, and it changed how he looked at humanity.“He came home full of joy and happiness for the first time in a long time,” he said. That night he and his son sat down and talked.
“That evening his son was going to take his life. Because someone paid a 75-cent toll, that did not happen. That man's life was completely changed. Little things mean everything,” Smith said.
The first MAD tour was in New York City for the 10th anniversary of 911. “As we started talking about what to do, we found so many opportunities to team up with people who serve in that community every day,” Caldwell said. “The exciting thing is that people get to find out about these different organizations and what they are doing to help others.”
When deciding what projects would be targeted in Pittsburgh, Smith said he Googled volunteer opportunities in Pittsburgh.
“All you have to do is look for ways to help and you'll find them. Take time to bring someone a cup of coffee or check in on someone you haven't seen for a couple days,” he suggested.
Caldwell said major skills are not needed “to make a difference in your own town. There are so many ways to help but you have to get out of your comfort zone.”
In many cases, serving others does not involve spending money.
“You can lend an ear to listen to someone who just needs someone to talk to,” Smith said. “What we want to do is create a desire in people to find ways to make a difference. The Gospel calls us to do that. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he said the first is to love God and then to love others. That's what our hope is — to love God then find ways to love others.”
Reaching out, he said, is an investment to the recipient and the giver. “How much better would our country be if we just reached out to others.”
Referring to the recent tragedy in Boston, Caldwell said we shouldn't wait for something like that to happen to serve.
“It just takes making that first step and this could be the first step in changing someone's life,” she said.
To sign up for any of the MAD sites in Pittsburgh, visit Klove.com then go to the events page.
Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1916, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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