By Arwen McGilvra –
Transformations… that’s what Serving In the Name of Christ (ServeINC) is about. Transforming our schools, our community, and transforming lives.
This year, the 7th annual ServeINC day of service, around 250 volunteers helped at 3 project sites; Timber Ridge Elementary, Jefferson Elementary and the new LoveINC office on Sanitam and Cleveland.
At Timber Ridge volunteers painted the building and landscaped the grounds. While school employees used man lifts to reach the taller parts of the building.
Project coordinator Jon Killinger encouraged the group with Ephesians 2:8-10 saying, “If all we do today is paint a school we’ve failed. We are here today to glorify Christ.”
Doug Pigman, Facilities Director for the Greater Albany Public Schools said, “When you look beyond the just the 210 gallons of paint, to all the other work done at Timber Ridge; the landscaping, spreading of the bark chips and bark dust and all the volunteer labor we are looking at easily $100,000 worth to the school district.” Timber Ridge being the largest single school ServeINC has tackled.
Pam Jones from South Albany Church said, “We’re here because we love our community. We love Jesus, therefore we love our community.”
In Jefferson, new principal Anna Keifer, said. “Its going to be so nice for the kids to come back to. We really appreciate everyone’s help. Resources are always limited so it’s nice to have help. We want students to take pride in their school and this project goes a long way to helping them do that,”
Volunteers cleaned, painted, weeded and laid down a semi-truck full of bark chips at the Jefferson Elementary playground. Plus they added extra safety padding under the bark chips around the playground equipment.
Kindergarten teacher Sara Withee was with her family volunteering at the Jefferson site. “I appreciate everyone coming out to help our kids. They will be excited with a fresh, new looking playground. In fact, I think they will love it.”
Students Ben (1st Grade) and Maclara (2nd Grade) said that beforehand the playground looked kinda bad. “Now, it’s good!” said Maclara, while Ben ran off in search of a bigger tool for the weeds he was pulling.
Jefferson project coordinator Shelly Henderson said this year was, “my favorite project so far, because its so transformative!”
Over at the LoveINC property Leona Crawford echoed the same sentiment, “It’s had an amazing transformation from where it started, just like God transforms our live.”
Volunteers removed a small shed, cleaned out a bunch of trash and brush, put up a new fence and landscaped the property. Roger Peterson of LoveINC said, “Freely we receive, freely we give. It’s what the Bible tells us. We are blessed to be able to help others.”
The new LoveINC facility will house a career closet, storage for household goods, and a 960 sq ft shop to comfortably house their medical ministry! Which in 2015 delivered nearly 500 pieces of durable medical equipment to those in need. Their new facility also offers space to house some much requested classes on budgeting, parenting as well as other life skills.
Volunteers from Child Evangelism Fellowship also held a neighborhood KidZone at Timber Ridge, offering fun games, face painting, and bounce houses for kids in the area.
“We believe that the churches working together can multiply their efforts,” said board member Don David. After all, our motto is ‘We are better together.’ What we do not only helps our schools, but our whole community. With 7 projects under our belt ServeINC is only getting started.