By Devan Strebing firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — Go Love Indy, a community outreach event on the west side of the city, features churches, organizations and individuals working together to make individual neighborhoods a better place.
Go Love Indy started in 2010 when Chapel Rock Christian Church decided to build a playground on the west side of Indianapolis called Adventure Fun Park.
“Five years ago, we had a vision to serve our community and knew that other churches and organizations wanted to serve, so we branded it so anyone can participate,” GLI leader Danny Smith said. “We have since done clean up on streets, in neighborhoods ... it’s a community effort.”
Chapel Rock had about 410 volunteers this year to help out in the community. Not only congregation members, but Starbucks employees and others have served.
The Chapel Rock volunteers do oil changes for single mothers, have done clean up on the B&O Trail, work in schools, and work with their food pantry.
“The food pantry that Chapel Rock hosts twice a month, this year they were serving; helping with the HOSTS (a one-to-one mentoring) program at Wayne Township,” Smith said.
Ben Davis Christian Church was asked by Chapel Rock three years ago to be a part of GLI.
“They asked us to join their second year,” Lydia Armstrong, Outreach Coordinator at Ben Davis Christian Church, said. “When they asked us to come on board, we mirrored the projects they did and we added our own as well. We’re out here to try to do some spring cleanup and help our neighbors to feel better about where they live.”
The volunteers started their day around 8:30 a.m., doing everything from cleaning up the trail around Krannert Park, to cleaning up neighborhoods, doing some landscaping, providing free oil changes for single parents and senior citizens, and sewing backpacks for homeless teens.
“We all do as much as we can to make a positive difference,” Armstrong said. “It’s reaching out and showing God’s love to the community, sharing our talents and abilities to help each other.”
Patty Summers, the team leader for the backpack project, says this is something that they need to do.
“God has blessed us with so much, we need to bless others,” she said. “It really touched my heart that these kids are out there — homeless and struggling. Now the kids have something that’s theirs.”
The backpacks are filled with personal products such as toothbrush and hand sanitizer. They will go to Restoring Lives West- a Christian ministry that reaches out to homeless and at-risk young adults.
The church also kept the volunteers’ children while they were out helping others.
“We made sure the kids are safe while the volunteers are out working,” child care leader Alicia Gay said. “We have babies and toddlers up to pre-K. We encourage kindergarten and up to be out there serving our community.”
The community block party for Ben Davis Christian Church was at Krannert Park and the block party for Chapel Rock was at Adventure Fun Park.
Kathy Garett brought her grandsons out to the park.
“We wanted to come to the park and then we saw the signs for Go Love Indy and I know they clean up the neighborhoods and streets … this is great,” she said.
Both churches say the community support grows every year.
“It’s neat to see everyone come together, to get projects done and to have fun and laugh,” Ben Davis Christian Church volunteer Terry Hubele said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s a great outreach.”
Both churches do different projects to help the community throughout the year.
“Our tag line here is that Go Love Indy is not just a day of service, but a way of life,” Smith said.
To learn more about Ben Davis Christian Church’s outreach, visit the website at www.bdcc.org and to learn more about Go Love Indy, visit the website at www.goloveindy.com.