Results from What If Everyone’s first 2013 event

• 5,000 items collected for Second Harvest

• 750 pounds of dog food collected for Great Dane Rescue

• 2,000 toiletry items collected for A Child's Place

• $2,000 of free gas cards handed out around Huntersville and Charlotte

• More than $4,000 given away to local non-profits, including $2,000 to sponsor Angels of '97

• More than 1,000 volunteer hours contributed by April 19

HUNTERSVILLE – Naeem and Ashley Fazal had a plan when they started Mosaic Church in 2006.

“We wanted to give back to the community, and I was really adamant about doing more outreach,” Ashley Fazal said. “We thought, ‘What can we do to impact our city and bring people together?’”

The result became clear to the two: Start an event open to anyone in the area who wanted to make a difference.  What If Everyone, a region-wide day of volunteer service, began in Huntersville in September 2009.

The first event gave Lake Norman- and Charlotte-area residents a chance to help their community by volunteering at nonprofit organizations like Great Dane Rescue and donating articles of clothing to charity.

It’s grown since then into a weeklong spectacle known as “7 Days of Service.” The Fazals kicked off the 2013 event, the second 7 Days of Service, on April 13 at Blythe Elementary School.

Fazal said the event has evolved in its four-year history. 

“It’s definitely evolved (since its inception),” Fazal said. “The impact has been great because people in the area recognize it more now, and want to come and help out.”

Fazal said roughly 150 people signed up to volunteer for the April 13-19 event, with more still calling to offer their services two days into the week.

“Some people signed up for two or three projects and others signed up themselves and their families as one group,” she said. “So we could’ve had even more than 150. There’s been a good variety. Families have gotten involved. It’s definitely been great.”

Volunteers spent the week working for organizations including Angels of ’97, Levine Children’s Hospital, Great Dane Rescue, Florence Crittenton Services, Huntersville Oaks Senior Living, The Free Store and A Child’s Place.

Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain visited the event on April 13 and voiced her support of the Fazals’ cause.

Fazal hopes What If Everyone leads to an even more impactful, long-term community improvement.

Five percent of Mosaic Church’s earnings go directly into the event. However, Mosaic Church is a mobile church, meaning it has no brick-and-mortar site. The church meets at North Mecklenburg High.

But the plan, according to Fazal, is to soon build The Hope Center, a 24/7 space for nonprofits, Mosaic Church and What if Everyone to use when needed.

The Fazals are on a three-year plan with the center and are exploring sites in South Huntersville and North Charlotte.

“We have people who want to offer free counseling, finance seminars and all kinds of help,” Fazal said. “We’re thrilled with what this could all become in the future.”