Building, mulching, cleaning, planting and painting…it’s all for God’s glory at CitySERVE
When BHITC began planning this year’s CitySERVE day – the tenth consecutive year for the service event in partnership with Lutheran West High School – the organization encouraged everyone to “Think Big!” Service sites were encouraged to think of “bigger” projects for volunteers, churches were challenged to bring the “biggest” group, all to see an even “bigger” impact for ministries across the city.
Wow, did they deliver! Nearly 45 of the 350+ total volunteers served at one site alone, UpCycle Farm in Cleveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood, where a 72’ x 32’ high tunnel – we’d call that pretty big! – was constructed, trees were removed from its perimeter, new fencing was installed and a chicken coop was re-roofed, all in just six short hours! UpCycle, an urban farm located on a commercial lot surrounded by housing, restaurants and a variety of storefronts, seeks to not only bring fresh, quality produce to the community, but also a life-giving and grace-filled business.
“The impact of CitySERVE at UpCycle over the last two years has allowed me to be where I hoped to be in 4-5 years,” says Mariah Hayden, who runs the farm. “Additionally, from a community perspective, having such a large group show up to serve with smiles, provide enthusiasm and readily engage in the grunt work of farm labor, I think infuses the neighborhood with good vibes that exists far beyond the hours that they were there.”
CitySERVE has long been a favorite event for many, and BHITC’s staff would agree. “At this year’s CitySERVE, we had volunteers serving in Jesus’ name all across the city at 24 different locations,” says Sharon Schuldt, BHITC’s Team and Resources Coordinator, who organized the event. “I loved driving around and visiting as many sites as I possible could that day to see believers serving with all their hearts and glorifying God through the work of their hands.”
At Laura’s Home and The City Mission, which serves men, women and children in crisis, nearly 40 volunteers served and completed some big projects of their own! Projects included outside landscaping, sorting and labeling donations in the warehouse, delivering toiletries to guests and painting rooms where women and children stay.
“The work completed was invaluable to us,” says Jaime Buxton, Internship & Volunteer Services Supervisor at The City Mission. “At Laura’s Home, the CitySERVE volunteers were even able to get to the organizational type things that just never get done. It was amazing. We even found things we didn’t know we had and were able to share them with other organizations. The projects completed at The City Mission would’ve taken days for our staff or volunteers to finish. It was so nice, in just one day, to bless the men with beautiful landscaping in the place they live. “
Buxton adds, “We were even finding extra jobs as the day went on because it was so well organized and everyone worked really well together. It was motivating even for our staff to see other people come alongside us.”
Next year will be CitySERVE’s 11-year anniversary, so get ready for an even BIGGER event and celebration!