CHAMPAIGN — More than 1,000 church-going people willing to volunteer one Saturday morning in March are still needed to help the Christian service organization Empty Tomb with a project intended to help needy children.
Empty Tomb needs 1,300 volunteers to register soon to help build 400 clothing cupboards for children who don't have dressers or closets to store their clothes, books and shoes at their homes.
Each volunteer also commits to raise at least $80 in pledges in connection with the March 2 work event. The pledges are intended to help Empty Tomb cover the cost of its service work in the Champaign-Urbana area.
Empty Tomb strives to give Christian church members opportunities for service, and its work includes helping low-income people with donated furniture, food and clothing and cash assistance for emergencies. It also helps churches increase mission spending.
The organization's coordinator, Shannon Cook, said volunteers registering to work on the cupboards are asked to be at least attending a church, if not members of a church.
"Empty Tomb's goal is to help build the church, so we want the Christians to participate to show their stewardship of faith throughout the community," she said.
Of 189 churches contacted to help with the cupboard-building project, 58 have responded to the call for help, and 159 church people have registered to help, she said.
That's well short of the total needed, so the deadline to sign up has been extended to Feb. 19, Cook said.
Empty Tomb and its volunteers built 100 clothing cupboards for kids last March, and the organization hopes to build so many more this year because the need for them is so great, she said.
No special carpentry skills are needed to be a volunteer builder. The cupboards are built from kits, Cook said.
The money volunteers raise is also much needed by Empty Tomb, which was behind paying its 17 employees all year in 2012 until December, Cook said.
The fundraising goal is $120,000, and the money raised will go into Empty Tomb's "no late bills" reserve fund, she said.
The cupboard-building work event will be held from 8 a.m. to noon March 2. The location will depend on the number of volunteers registered to help and hasn't been selected yet, Cook said.
Cook asks that people register as soon as possible. Volunteers can raise funds to cover their minimum $80 donation or cover it themselves, she said.
A limited number of volunteers will also be needed to deliver the cupboards and do other things for the event, such as check in, serve on the hospitality team and lead prayer.
For registration, visit http://www.emptytomb.org  or come to Empty Tomb at 301 N. Fourth St., C.
Or register through your church, Cook said.