WORTHINGTON - When Lakeside Church celebrates its 125th anniversary next month, it plans to do more than simply host a picnic for its congregation.
It will become the hands and feet of Jesus - with the help of community volunteers - to aid the city and local organizations who exist to serve others.
An idea of the church’s lead pastor, Wes Kouba, the ministry board worked to identify agencies with the greatest needs, according to Mary Stewart, administrative assistant at Lakeside. From Aug. 12-14, church members and volunteers will come together for a three-day service project to “bless the city,” Stewart said.
Five service projects have been identified and include: making Thanksgiving gift bags for the Helping Hands Pregnancy Center; compiling overnight backpacks/duffle bags for children and teens in foster care; creating New Beginning baskets for individuals and families seeking assistance through the Southwest Crisis Center; painting all of the benches at the bandshell in Chautauqua Park; and assisting the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce with the Cruisin’ Downtown event, including providing activities for children.
All of the bags, backpacks, duffels and baskets will be packed the evening of Aug. 13, said Stewart, adding that volunteers will also be tying blankets and doing the painting project for the city’s parks and rec department that same day.
A hot dog picnic with children’s activities will kick off the service project Aug. 12 in Centennial Park; Stewart said it’s open to everyone. In addition, the church will serve an evening meal to volunteers Aug. 13, and freeze pops will be purchased and distributed during the Aug. 14 Cruisin’.
At this time, the church is seeking volunteers, donations of items and financial support.
“Our goal is to get the whole community involved, including area churches,” Stewart said.
A wish list of items needed for the bags, backpacks, duffels and baskets can be viewed in a link posted on the LOVE WGTN page, under the Giving tab on the church’s website, lakesideworthington.org. Here is where people are also encouraged to register to be a volunteer.
“We’re really welcoming families to bring their whole family - all ages are welcome,” Stewart said, adding that while about 200 volunteers are desired, no one will be turned away. People are asked to register by July 15. That is also the date by which people are asked to make a financial contribution. For information about making a contribution, contact the church at 376-9735 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stewart said the church’s goal is to compile 50 foster care backpacks (primarily for teen-aged children) for Nobles County Community Services, 50 gift bags for the Helping Hands Pregnancy Center and 25 baskets for the Southwest Crisis Center
“I’m sure we won’t turn away (items) if we go over those numbers,” Stewart said, adding that all items are to be brought to the church.
All of the gifts will be presented to the agencies during the Cruisin’ Downtown event Aug. 14. Stewart said volunteers will be helping with setup and teardown for the event, assisting with vehicle parking, providing children’s activities and distributing freeze pops.
To cap off the week, Lakeside Church has planned an Aug. 19 baptism service at Chautauqua Park, which will include several baptisms in Lake Okabena as well as a congregational picnic.