BY MARCUS CASTEEL, ASSOCIATE PASTOR OF CARE CENTER
Six years ago only God knew the impact the Care Center would have on this community. Both our volunteers and our friends have open their hearts and by doing so, lives have been changed! God gave us a glimpse of that impact at the First Annual Care Center Community Fair in 2016. It was an amazing morning filled with smiles, lots of hugs and even happy tears. Our friends started to line up at 7:30 a.m. and over 1,500 showed up that morning. They stood in line for hours and the heat was miserable, but not one single person seemed upset, tired or exhausted as they approached us. Instead, they were very grateful and happy to spend the morning with us.
Our volunteers showed up in full-force as well! Many of them have been serving here from the opening of the Care Center, and they serve every week. We were also blessed with brand new volunteers, which we always love (so feel free to join us anytime!). Over 200 volunteers gave up their morning to love others and be the hands and feet of Jesus to our friends, and we are eternally grateful.
Our faithful volunteers <3
We had a variety of stations for the families. You could see kids walking proudly in their new shoes after participating in a foot-washing ceremony. Some not only rode a bike for the first time, but when they found out it was theirs to keep they couldn’t contain the excitement. After that morning, I will no longer take books for granted. Seeing kids walk away from the book mobile with a few new treasures was priceless. An extra bonus was that they could also shop in the Choice Pantry, which gave them the opportunity to stock up on a few things. Our friends also received free haircuts and family portraits. Those two things send huge messages to our friends letting them know they matter and they are loved. Many of you helped with the Back to School Blast from purchasing the backpacks to filling them. On behalf of all the families who received the 400 backpacks, thank you! You will never know the impact you have had on a child as they are now prepared for school.
What's Ahead for This Year
Since 2016, our Care Center Community Fair has grown exponentially. This year, we're expecting over 2,000 friends to attend and 500 people to volunteer at the Care Center Community Fair on Saturday, July 29! If you're available, learn more and sign up at gracechurch.us/carecenter.
If you can't make it that day, we also have more amazing opportunities like this in the Care Center as we serve close to 500 families each week. We need over 300 volunteers to help us each week, so jump on board! I promise God will change your life forever if you are open to it. You can sign up at gracechurch.us/carecenter.