Known by man as “May the Fourth be with you” May 4, was an exciting day for a group of more than 400 volunteers from Kings United Way, First Baptist Church Hanford, First Presbyterian Hanford, and Koinonia Church. Volunteers spilled into the streets to give their time and energy to serve the community in over 40 different projects ranging from alley cleanups to changing oil in cars.
Serve Day: A Day of Caring is the result of a collaboration between a variety of local churches and Kings United Way. Nearly 10 years ago, Koinonia Church launched “Serve Day” to inspire their members to give back to the community. Volunteers mowed grass, picked up trash, cleaned bathrooms, and more. Over the years the event grew and the church began participating with other churches in the community. This year Serve Day was combined with Kings United Way’s annual volunteer event entitled “A Day of Caring”
The goal of the event, according to Koinonia Pastor and Outreach, Chad Fagundes, is “to love on our community in a practical way.”
Each year, the team approaches the City of Hanford, local schools, convalescent homes and other organizations and asks, "What can we do for you?” This year, volunteers helped clean up a few homeless encampments, pick up alley ways filled with trash in the downtown area, gave free oil changes to low-income families, mowed lawns for senior shut-ins, visited the aged in convalescent homes, delivered supplies and meals to the homeless and much more. Volunteers filled up five roll of dumpsters with trash and waste from the various projects.
At the beginning of the day, volunteers met at a rally at Civic Center in the heart of Hanford. There they received a t-shirt, separated into their various teams, and heard an energetic call to action from Koinonia Pastor Candace Cortez. Cortez encouraged volunteers to remember to be flexible and keep the right attitude. She then sent them out to their various projects. Participants returned to the park after their projects for hot dogs, cold water and bounce houses for the kids.
“This event was a huge success because of the commitment and partnership of all involved,’ said Nanette Villarreal Executive Director of Kings United Way. “We know that lives were touched in a positive was for both volunteers and the recipients.”