EARLY —North Lake Community Church members had one project in mind when they showed up with their pastor, Ron Keener, at CARE Nursing and Rehabilitation in Early Thursday morning.
    They accomplished that project — setting up bird feeders on the grounds and filling them with bird feed. Church members have learned nursing home residents enjoy watching birds sit at the feeders and eat, and they have visited area nursing homes to fill empty feeders or replace feeders in poor condition.
    When CARE admissions coordinator Sharon Hannah mentioned another project she hoped a group would take on, Keener didn’t hesitate: “We’ll get ‘er done,” Keener assured Hannah.
    The new project: pulling out a small forest of cattails that surround a pond on the back portion of the facility’s 19 acres and building a ramp and dock. Hannah envisions the improvements that would enable residents to enjoy sitting by the water and fishing if they want to.
    “We’re a small church with big hearts,” said church member Betty Bowden, who is coordinator of the church’s nursing home ministry.
    The pond, which is about 60 feet long and 20 feet wide, is filled with catfish and bass, Hannah said. “In the summer, it’s beautiful back here,” she said.
    When North Lake Community Church members arrived at CARE Thursday morning,  they knew nothing of the pond project. They quickly got busy installing new bird feeders — the original reason for their presence.
    Bowden said she’d noticed that many bird feeders were empty at nursing homes, and some had birds’ nests or wasps’ nests. Bowden also realized that many nursing home residents enjoy watching the birds at the feeders.
    Bowden thought church members could do something to help, and she approached Keener, their pastor. “Sure, we can do that,” Keener replied. He enlisted church members Steve and Jamey Thrasher to get a bird feeder project started.
    “We sit with the people,” Bowden said of the nursing home ministry. “We visit with them and we take snacks. We pray with them. They’re all so special. Each one has their own little touch.”
    Nursing home administrator Lanet McShan said the new bird feeders are “very much appreciated. Our residents will enjoy this so much. It will be a wonderful activity. We just appreciate folks who love us so much. It means the world to us. It really does.”
    Church members were about to leave when Keener heard Hannah, the CARE admissions coordinator, mention the need for the improvements at the pond — “a resource we’re not using,” Hannah said.
    “Well, it needs to be used,” Keener said.
    He ticked off the resources the church would be able to bring to the project, including a tractor and dump truck owned by men in the church. “We’ll clean it up,” Keener said. “We’re going to take care of it. We’ve got the tractor, the dump truck … we’ve got the equipment, the tools. We’ll get ‘er done.”