CLAY -- The Rev. Jesse Boggs moved away from Clay County as a sixth-grader, but a piece of his heart has always been there.
"We grew up here back in the '60s and poverty was certainly present in that day," said Boggs, the senior pastor of Northgate Church in Pittsburgh. "I think having lived in the midst helps you better understand the need and helps you get to a place of doing something about it."
Boggs, along with about 85 volunteers from eight different states, has been back in Clay County over the past week for a number of service projects.
Volunteers hosted a sports camp for school children and helped make home repairs for families in the area. They also gave away mattresses to needy families and orchestrated sewing and computer classes for teenagers and adults.
"It gives us an opportunity to put feet upon our faith and to make a difference," Boggs said. "God leaves us here to make a difference and that's part of the strategy."
The 85 church volunteers from outside the area partnered with other volunteers from Clay County High School for the weeklong service project.
Volunteers ran clinics in basketball, baseball, cheerleading and soccer for children in kindergarten through the sixth grade. By Thursday, 120 kids had participated.
"We love to use sports because we think it's a great way to use their bodies to keep them active," said Caroline Glidden, a Northgate member who organized the Mega Sports camp. "They're having fun. It's also a way for us to reach them with the Gospel. We want to share Christ's love with them using the medium of sports."
Out-of-town volunteers -- including Glidden and her family -- slept at Clay County High School, where the activities were being held. Glidden said she and her husband were in a room at the school with two portable cribs for her children, a 9-month-old and a 2-year-old.
"It's been different than at home, but it's been fun," she said.