ARLINGTON – Each summer, Grove Church “iheart” volunteer armies for good power through a week of community service projects that started in Marysville, but is now spreading its “love your city” message to surrounding communities, including Arlington.
Volunteers in mid-July worked three days at Twin Rivers Park painting the restrooms, parking bollards and bleachers, which did wonders for the park’s appearance, city officials said.
During this year’s I Heart initiative, 460 people volunteered a total of 7,569 hours. They finished projects at 32 work sites, spread 300 yards of bark and applied 106 gallons of paint.
“It’s so amazing what can be accomplished in five days,” Grove lead pastor Nik Baumgart said.
Work parties focused mainly on sprucing up public parks and schools including Ebey Waterfront Park, Shoultes and Tulalip Quil Ceda elementary school, the Tulalip Health Clinic, with more improvements in Lake Stevens, Stanwood and Snohomish, the church’s second home behind Marysville.
In addition, 800 kids and parents attended the church’s iheartGO block parties at Shoultes, Grove and Liberty elementary schools for a day of music, games, prizes and hot dogs.
Teenager Michael Stevenson helped out at Shoultes for his first-time I Heart block party.
“We just celebrated having a good time,” he said. “It’s just really cool seeing kids’ expressions after playing a game, how excited and happy they are.”
Baumgart said connecting with others while showing love for your city enough to give back through community service is at the heart of the campaign.
Volunteers said they were grateful to get out and beautify the cities where they live and work, talk to people and share the gospel.
Joan Robertson-Landi, interim principal Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary, said she was impressed with the hard work and improvements.
“This is just going to raise the spirits of our kids when they come and see how brand new everything looks, and the fact that people care enough about them to do this,” Landi said.
For details visit the church’s website at http://grove.church.