ELKHART — Faces were painted, lunch was served and cars were washed last weekend as local young people participated in this year’s Summer of Service program.
“This year was our biggest event, but the smoothest weekend we’ve ever had,” said Pastor Mark Gardner of Faith Community Church. “There was a great variety of projects and we were able to spread out farther, reaching out to more people.”
Gardner looks to reach out even further for next year’s event, although registration will not open until February or March. This year’s event, however, did cover a large area, with Elkhart, Mishawaka and South Bend residents able to take advantage of free food and dollar car washes, where volunteers paid drivers a dollar to wash their car.
“Volunteers were probably most excited about the car wash,” said Pastor Gardner. “It always amazes people that we give them a dollar to wash their car. I would say the car washes and the nursing home visit were highlights this year.”
The nursing home visit, a trip to Cardinal Nursing and Rehabilitation in South Bend, gave volunteers the chance to visit with residents. Both parties were reluctant when it came time for volunteers to leave.
“There were so many good things,” said Gardner. “Seeing the kids have life-changing moments through their actions impacting others or being challenged to change was the best part of this weekend.”
Tolson Center in Elkhart was one of eight locations able to benefit from the block party aspect of the program. Free hot dogs and chips were served to anyone interested.
For more information on the Summer of Service program or how to get involved visit summerofservice.net.