Churches’ CAREfest gathers volunteers to help others

SNOHOMISH — Joan and Dan Bushnell met the 88-year-old widow more than a year ago. Viola Hinds, of Lake Stevens was having difficulty mowing the lawn, so Dan decided to help her.

They developed a friendship that also involved their Bible Study Group at the Snohomish Community Church. When the group was required to select a community project for CAREfest of Snohomish County, they quickly chose to help Hinds with her garden and removing rotten wood.

“We didn’t look at the list. We just did our own project,” Joan Bushnell said.

Their project was one of the 59 in the community connected to CAREfest. The May 5 event saw members of eight different churches volunteer to help schools, parks and nonprofit groups in Everett, Monroe, Snohomish, Lake Stevens and Marysville.

The aim of CAREfest was to follow Jesus Christ’s teachings about helping others.

“He set the example of how to serve people. That’s a core value for us, serving like Jesus did,” Snohomish Community Church pastor Gordon Everett said.

His church started CAREfest — which stands for Community Acts Reaching Everyone. It just marked its seventh year.

This year, more than 660 people of different ages volunteered in the projects that varied from helping the Snohomish Food Bank, Cocoon House and schools.

Other churches that participated were Central Christian Church, First Presbyterian Church, Hope Foursquare Church, Snohomish Faith Assembly, The Bridge Church, Elim Lutheran Church and the Lake Church.

The Lake Church and Elim Lutheran are from Lake Stevens. The rest are in Snohomish.

The churches asked different agencies for ideas on how best to help.

Most of the projects were done in a couple of hours, but some took the entire day. The main goal was to teach that caring about the community is a lifestyle, he said.

“The results in the community are important, but in addition, we learn God does His work through us all. We learn to be less self-centered and more self-giving,” Everett said.

This was Connie Abbott’s second year participating in the event. The Marysville resident led a group of 15 volunteers from the Bridge Church to help a single mom from Lake Stevens. The volunteers helped by cleaning windows, pulling weeds and mowing the lawn, among other things.

Last year, Abbott’s volunteer project was at a Snohomish park.

“I liked both but this was better,” Abbot said, “No matter what are you doing, it’s exciting to make a difference for other people, and I believe it pleases God when you do that.”

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@ heraldnet.com.

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