Volunteers will paint over graffiti, pick up litter, assist seniors and work on a playground during the 22nd Santa Maria Serves event.
Volunteers will meet at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center, 600 S. McClelland St., Santa Maria, where coffee will be provided by Starbucks, along with other light refreshments. From there, volunteers will travel to one of six project locations to take part in a day of service that will benefit the community.
Pastor Carl Nielsen of Bethel Lutheran Church was inspired to start Santa Maria Serves after taking a group of volunteers to New Orleans in 2009 to help in restoration efforts following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. After returning home, “he came back to Santa Maria and asked himself, ‘Why can’t we do something like that right here in our own community?’” according to Serve Santa Maria’s website. The first iteration of the event followed shortly after in 2010.
The motive and vision of the event, according to the organization’s website, is to “show our love for God and our neighbors, and demonstrate our unity in the Body of Christ” and “to see the city and surrounding communities of Santa Maria transformed both in spiritual and societal ways.”
Furthermore, event organizers believe that “Christians are called to seek the peace and prosperity of the city, both in prayer and as servants of society, looking forward to the final and eternal heavenly city where the trials of this world will cease,” according to their website.
Projects for this year’s day of service, which were selected with the help of the City of Santa Maria, include painting over graffiti under the Santa Maria River Bridge located on State Route 1, painting picnic tables at Pioneer Park, removing litter from five locations including Minami Park and Preisker Park, painting the playground at Miller Elementary School, assisting seniors at La Maria Mobile Home Park with gardening and litter removal, and repainting the Santa Maria Valley YMCA’s map of the United States — which the organization originally painted during the 2016 Santa Maria Serves event.
While Santa Maria Serves will be providing supplies for volunteers including paint rollers and brushes, the organization is encouraging those who have their own paint roller frames to bring them. That will help to ensure all volunteers will have access to what they need.
For those who are unable to perform physical volunteer work, organizers say Santa Maria Serves is also looking for individuals to be a part of prayer teams that will “pray for safety for the volunteers, and pray that (they) are able to complete the projects we have set out to do.
To sign-up to be a volunteer, contact Pastor Nielsen at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit servesantamaria.com. Volunteers can also show-up and sign-up in person at the Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center on the day of the event.