With a record 700 participants, this year’s City Serve stretched its reach to even more areas of need in Orange County. On Saturday, September 14, Vanguard University students, faculty and staff experienced the joys of serving their community and seeing God work through their service.
This year, participants were able to choose from 18 different outreaches. Outreaches varied from working with specific organizations to providing wax and water for surfers at local beaches. Providing free parking for people at the beach, dancing with residents at a convalescent home, planting trees in a local park and packing boxes of food for families in need are only a few examples of the service teams did.
Along with an overall greater number of participants, this year’s City Serve had the largest number of faculty, staff and administration participants. Vanguard University’s President, Michael Beals, and his wife, Faith, joined a group that helped with event preparations, cleaning and maintenance at Krochet Kids’ facility.
After finishing their service projects, participants came back to campus for a lunch at the school. Many participants returned with stories of not only the impact they were able to have on the community, but also the impact the day had on them personally. “My favorite part of the day was getting to stand near the entrance to the café as teams returned and hear their stories,” said Kayli Hillebrand, associate director of outreach.
One group’s story came from service they did outside of their assigned task. While passing out promotional flyers for Convoy of Hope’s upcoming service event, one group of students came across a single mother and her two barefooted children. After speaking with the mother, giving her a flyer and encouraging her to come to the event, the students began to leave. Feeling God prompting them to do more, they turned back and asked the mother if they could buy her and her kids shoes and some toys. The mother was surprised and very grateful as she accepted the gifts. “I’m not sure who was touched more – the mom or our students,” Hillebrand said.
“My heart for this event has always been for our campus to grasp how simple loving our neighbors can be,” Hillebrand said. “Our city has so many phenomenal opportunities to partner with the Lord and the body of Christ in bringing about change for His Kingdom and I hope that our campus will dive in with both feet.”