Local churches do community service project

Four churches in the Peoria area banned together to do some major community service Saturday.

Local churches do community service project

Four churches in the Peoria area banned together to do some major community service Saturday.

Northwoods Community Church, Riverside Community Church, St. Paul Baptist Church and Richwoods Christian Church have been working together since last year doing community service and preaching to the other congregations.

“This year we called it, the church united is ‘Unstoppable.’ That theme, united and unstoppable, merged because they decided we’re going to do a service project to make a difference in the community,” Kirt Manuel, communications director for Northwoods Community Church in Dunlap, said.

More than 800 parishioners from the four churches volunteered their time.

Lori Escalante-Allen, leader of the “Unstoppable” event and staff at Northwoods Community Church, described the whole day as “amazing, incredible and fantastic.”

“Every project came off without a hitch. To see the before and after shots, you look at the photos and go, ‘Wow, we did that in just that amount of time.’ Everyone was truly amazing,” she said.

Escalante-Allen also said that not only was there an abundance of volunteers, but the donation bins at Northwoods were overflowing.

“Our bins at the church were full. We’d empty them and come back and they were full again,” she said. “Our receptionist said it was the best week just meeting people and talking to those who were bringing in donations.”

Church members were also eager to bake cakes for the cake walk on Saturday.

“We had 80 cakes dropped off. Those people took the time to bake a cake and make it beautiful so it would be one of the first picked,” Escalante-Allen said. “People were lining up 20-deep to play the cake walk game.”

Volunteers helped with the project before, during and after Saturday, which, according to Escalante-Allen, is one of the reasons it was so successful.

Volunteers throughout the week helped put together back-to-school bags for kids, put Bible verses on the donated goods and set up for the different events.

The “Unstoppable” community service project volunteers worked all day Saturday with eight different projects.

The community service project teams included:

• Adopt-a-Block-n-More cleaned up Sheridan Road from Main Street to McClure, and Manual High School.

• Fill ‘Em Up collected and distributed cleaning supplies and personal care items.

• Not-4-Sale sale was a no cost back-to-school “sale.”

• Fishing 4 Friends took 50 senior citizens to a fishing derby at Hooked on Fishing. Food baskets were supplied to those participating and other senior citizens in centers and private homes.

• Meet, Eat, and Be Merry provided a family picnic for the Sidewalk Sunday School at Logan Park.

• Building the Church remodeled Sovereign Grace Church.

• Ready to Go provided school supplies and uniforms for hundreds of children.

• Lift It Up had prayer teams at each event.

“It’s about breaking down barriers and meeting needs and letting people know that someone cares about them. We want them to know that cool stuff is happening and we don’t care if they know who’s doing it; that’s not what matters,” Manuel said. “This is generating good news for someone to read instead of the record homicides and whatever else.”

All leftover goods were donated to the South Side Mission.

“The leader at one of the events asked at lunch, ‘Does anyone want to do this next year?’ and a gentlemen yelled, ‘How about tomorrow,’” Escalante-Allen said.
Volunteers could see the impact they made on many of those they helped immediately.

“When the volunteers were giving the cleaning supplies away, one woman looked in her bag, pulled out a bottle of bleach, and she looked at the volunteer with tears in her eyes and said, ‘I have wanted to really clean my house and this has allowed me to do that,’” she said.

Many organizations donated resources to help the “Unstoppable” mission be a success.

Those organizations are: the City of Peoria, Hoerr’s Nursery, South Side Mission, the Peoria Civic Center, Richwoods High School, Central Illinois Agency of Aging, My Backyard, Dave Bourscheidt of General Contractor in Peoria and Captain Hook.