By TRAVIS MORSE
MT. VERNON — — More than 600 volunteers took part in the April 12 Central Serve Day organized by Central Christian Church.
As part of the new program, church members completed a variety of community service projects that day throughout Mt. Vernon, including some much-needed renovations at the offices of CASA of Jefferson County, 612 N. 12th St.
Becky Whisenant, executive director of CASA and a church member, said she cried when she pulled up to the CASA offices April 12 and saw all the volunteers working.
“It's so humbling to see that people, number one, would volunteer their time to come do something like this and that we were honored that they picked CASA to be one of the sites, because there are many other worthy organizations that help children around here,” Whisenant said. “It shows that CASA is important to this community, and it's important to this community to help abused and neglected children.”
Renovations completed at the CASA site included the removal of screens on the front porch, scraping and painting the porch eaves, cleaning out the gutters, washing windows, raking leaves and more.
Whisenant said the porch work was the most significant since the front porch was “in bad shape.” CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, recruits volunteers to serve as a voice for children in the juvenile court system.
“It's just a huge improvement,” Whisenant said. “I'm absolutely thrilled. I just have so much pride when I pull in here.”
Church member Amanda Heinzmann was the group leader for the CASA renovation project. She said organizations like CASA are a “wonderful part of our community.”
“We just want to show our love for our community by helping others,” Heinzmann said.
Church volunteers April 12 also completed improvement projects at Angels' Cove, the Amy Center, and at various nursing homes.
In addition, volunteers left encouraging notes at local grocery stores, raked the yards of elderly residents, performed “random acts of kindness,” wrote 250 thank-you letters to military personnel, and baked and delivered cupcakes to all the local police, fire and ambulance agencies, Whisenant said.
Jeremy Redman, connections pastor at Central Christian, said this was the first Central Serve Day held by the church. He hopes to continue the program in the future.
“(It's) to let the community know that we love them,” Redman said. “We do a lot of stuff around the world in Africa and South America and the Philippines … but sometimes we also acknowledge that we need to do stuff at home and to our neighbors here because we love our community, we're part of it, and they need to know that the Lord loves them, too.”