Conway’s Zion Temple Church of God in Christ is hosting the Men of Action Prayer Rally and Blood Drive Saturday morning to connect nonprofit organizations with churches across the state in an effort to increase the overall impact of outreach efforts to populations in need.

Albert Brown, outreach coordinator for Zion Temple Church, said the purpose of the Men of Action Prayer Rally and Blood Drive is to unite community organizations along with churches to build strategic partnerships to further outreach efforts in Arkansas.

Outreach efforts could include providing housing, helping in food kitchens or reducing juvenile delinquency, all in an effort to improve community development, he said.

"Primarily the populations that are most in need are who we are targeting with this whole campaign, but it isn’t limited to race, gender or sometimes it isn’t even limited to economic or educational status because there are various needs across the state," Brown said.

For example, the System of Emergency Response Volunteers or SERV Arkansas, a division of the Arkansas Department of Health, Preparedness and Response Branch, recruits volunteers to serve within local communities during a natural disaster, terrorist attack or public health emergency.

If Conway is flooded and the city needs to call on volunteers, they’ll have those in local churches that could volunteer who already have rapport and connections within the community, so it makes it easier, Brown said, and that doesn’t have anything to do with economic status.

The churches are coming together to pray for community and political leaders, economic development in the state and the ability to remain united in their efforts to support outreach and public service, Brown said.

Within the Church of God and Christ there are four jurisdictions, that cover the state of Arkansas, but Zion Temple Church of God in Christ is encouraging churches of all denominations who are interested in finding ways to support the community to join them on Saturday.

"I hope the churches will learn to communicate more and further connect with one another as far as how we serve others," Brown said, "and there won’t be so much division in regard to theological disagreements, but we can focus on that one topic of serving people which we all seem to agree on."

Bishop Frank J. Anderson, Jr. is the pastor of Zion Temple and serves as a jurisdictional leader of 110 churches across the state. Brown estimates several hundred people to be in attendance Saturday.

Several community organizations such as Habitat for Humanity of Faulkner County, Women’s Shelter of Central Arkansas, Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Central Arkansas, City of Hope Outreach, Soul Food Cafe and Renewal Ranch have confirmed their attendance at this event among others.

Organizations will have an opportunity to come before the crowd to share their mission and talk about how churches and volunteers can get involved. As well as exhibition booths to further spread their cause.

Phillip Fletcher, executive director for City of Hope Outreach, said the community will benefit from this event because it provides an atmosphere for organizations to meet, strengthen relationships and see how they can use their resources to benefit people from all backgrounds for the betterment of the city at large.

Fletcher said he hopes to find organizations and volunteers who will help with City of Hope Outreach’s holiday ministries including the seventh annual Thanksgiving Banquet to feed the residents of Oakwood and Brookside Village trailer park, and the Christmas Store where families can purchase donated gifts for $5 a box.

The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive in partnership with the prayer rally.

The first 20 people to give blood will receive a smoothie gift card donated by Tropical Smoothie of Conway, and the first 30 will be entered into a drawing to receive a gift bag provided by Starbucks of Conway.

Food trucks Road Hog BBQ and Nate’s Hotdog Haven will be onsite and have committed to donating 10 percent of every sale toward Zion Temple outreach efforts such as tutoring and computer leadership courses.

The prayer rally will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the blood drive will continue until 1 p.m. at Simon Park in downtown Conway.

(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at michelle.corbet@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1215. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)