By Audrey Frazier-
Liberty Elementary School in Albany, Oregon was an atmosphere of hope and love on July 13th, 2013 as Serve INC (In the Name of Christ) members and community volunteers painted and landscaped the building for it’s students.
Jefferson Middle School also received a makeover from Serve INC on Saturday.
As explained by Serve INC members Don Bergland and Brad Duncan, this is the third year of this faith-based project, geared towards loving the community through investing in the schools in the name of Christ. The Serve INC members recruit volunteers through the local churches to gather together one day a year to paint and landscape a designated school in the community, saving the school district thousands of dollars. Nearly 400 people volunteered for this years projects.
Church organizations were not the only groups volunteering their time: local organizations such as Dutch Bros Coffee and Fitzpatrick painting provided supplies and employees to the cause. (Click for a list of all our sponsors.)
“The project seemed to flow very smoothly this year. As I understand, the work that volunteers were assigned was completed in record time. The volunteers were all happy and I know the school district is pleased with the results. The most exciting news is there were a number of individuals who are now a part of the family of God as a result of this event,” said John Kollaer, one of the event organizers.
Reaching out to the community’s children was another important aspect of the project. Fun activities and games were set up in the elementary school’s playground, accompanied with positive Gospel music to spread the word of God to the kids. Deb Powell of LoveINC was in charge of this year’s Family Fun Zone, which served about 75 neighborhood children.
As Gary Puttman, one of the Serve INC members leading the charge, put it: there is another benefit besides saving money – the project provides community members the opportunity to meet new people, come together, and serve others. Volunteer Becky Wilford touched on another inspiring aspect of this service: the influence is has on the school’s students. Wilford expressed how it really “wow’s” the students and shows them the good that can happen when a group of people get together in a positive light.
Jerry McIntosh ServeINC board chair says that looking into the future, “We will continue to pursue efforts in the community to promote unity in local churches through Acts of Service in the name of Christ. This will undoubtedly, involve painting more schools in the district.” Allowing the hope and love to spread even further.