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Volunteers Helping to Renovate Charlottesville Church

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Volunteers at work inside Pilgrim Baptist Church Volunteers at work inside Pilgrim Baptist Church
Pastor Chris Cooper Pastor Chris Cooper
Volunteers at work inside Pilgrim Baptist Church Volunteers at work inside Pilgrim Baptist Church
Wendy Cooper Wendy Cooper
Volunteers at work inside Pilgrim Baptist Church Volunteers at work inside Pilgrim Baptist Church
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Volunteers spent Saturday hammering and sawing away to help renovate a community church in Charlottesville.

The Building Goodness Foundation (BGF), a nonprofit organization, has been working for more than a year with members of Pilgrim Baptist Church to finalize renovation plans.

Pastor Chris Cooper says this renovation project highlights the community oriented spirit of Charlottesville: "It brings that atmosphere of family throughout the city of Charlottesville and throughout the community," he said.

"It’s kind of amazing to see that this is actually happening right before our eyes," said Wendy Cooper, the pastor's wife.

The goal is to make the church more accessible to people with limited mobility. Saturday, March 3, BGF volunteers and church members laid the foundation for a handicap-accessible pulpit.

"It’s going to affect the congregation in making the mobility easier to go back and forwards to the fellowship hall and to the sanctuary," Wendy Cooper said. She says renovations are long overdue, and these are the first step toward expanding the church's community outreach programs.

BGF offers free renovation and design services to nonprofits that are doing community development and responding to the needs of the community.

Lauren McRaven, the local project manager for BGF, says the organization decided to take on the project at Pilgrim Baptist because the church provides community health worker education, exercise classes, and summer meal programs for kids.

"This is one of my favorite local partners, because it is a really good connection to make. This is a group of community members who come together to worship and have looked back into their community and said, 'there's things that we can do to help in our own community,' and they already have a lot of great programs," McRaven said.

Over the next few months, volunteers with the Building Goodness Foundation will also help build a multi-purpose addition so the church can expand its free community services.