Saturday, February 24 , 2018, 8:22 pm | Fair 51º


Local News

Serve Santa Maria Mobilizes Army of Volunteers to Tackle Community Cleanup

Hundreds of people fan out to complete assorted projects and chores during twice-a-year workday


Equipped with lawn mowers, weed whackers and a spirit of helping others, volunteers fanned out across a northwest Santa Maria neighborhood to complete assorted chores Saturday.

The effort was the latest Serve Santa Maria community service day, and it involved hundreds of volunteers — of all ages. They represented church groups, service clubs and others eager to help their community.

Santa Maria Foursquare Church had approximately 30 members doing chores in the neighborhood, loading up old appliances, furniture and no-longer-needed wood to be carted away.

“We do it because loving our city has to be more than just words,” Pastor Tim Mossholder told Noozhawk. “It’s putting love into action, and the love of God comes pouring out on days like Serve Santa Maria.”

Participants met at the Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center on Saturday morning for doughnuts and prayer before spreading out to complete the day’s assignments. In addition to the neighborhood, projects were undertaken at schools, parks and individual residences.

Organizers had a list of about a dozen projects for Serve Santa Maria 13.

Pastor Carl Nielsen, from Bethel Lutheran Church, launched Serve Santa Maria in 2010, inspired after taking high school students to help the recovery effort in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Twice a year, in April and August, Serve Santa Maria volunteers have united to complete assorted small and large projects in the valley, painting maps on school playgrounds, covering graffiti under the Highway 101 bridge over the Santa Maria River and spreading bark in parks.

But the neighborhood cleanup was one of the broadest efforts, prompting Nielsen to remark before Saturday’s event, “The Holy Spirit seems to be in charge. I’m calling it holy chaos.”

At a residence on a corner lot, confirmation class members from St. John Neumann Catholic Church wielded paint brushes to turn a wooden fence white.

Offered a chance to participate in Serve Santa Maria to complete community service hours, many of the teenagers thought the chores would be easy.

The performed assorted tasks, such cutting grass, moving furniture and trimming trees.

“We came and it was actually a lot more work than we expected,” Angel Llamas said while painting a fence with his friends. “It’s actually way more fun than we expected, as well.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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