Members of Victory Family Church shared the love of God on Saturday during the church's annual Serve Day by cleaning up Zelienople Community Park.
About 40 members from churches in Cranberry Township and New Castle spent the morning volunteering at the park while the rest of the 700 members worked on other projects throughout the region.
Church members Joelle and Rick Flatt, of Cranberry Township, brought their 3-month-old son, Henry, with them to the park.
“I enjoy helping, being able to help someone in need or just sharing the love of God,” Joelle Flatt said.
She said her family has volunteered for previous Serve Days and was happy to help clean up the park.
“It's about teaching your kids about life. That it's about more than just yourself,” said Amanda Borelli, who came with her family from Cornwall in Beaver County.
Borelli said she has been a church member since she was 16 years old and has participated in many Serve Days.
If it weren't for concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, even more volunteers would have turned out, said John Nuzzo, senior pastor at the church in Cranberry.
“With COVID it reduced us by about two-thirds, but we were still able to do it,” he said.
Other church members cleaned up at Glade Run Adventures in Zelienople and washed cars at the church in Cranberry Township.
Many church members seek out projects for Serve Day in the communities where they live. With members living in 40 different school districts, projects are done throughout Butler, Lawrence, Beaver and Allegheny counties, Nuzzo said.
“We ask community leaders: Are there any community projects?” he said.
Members contacted the Zelienople Community Park board and learned that they needed some help as a part of the national Serve Day effort involving 10,000 churches across the country.
“They trimmed everywhere, we cleared all the trash, we cleaned the flower boxes,” Nuzzo said.
He said more than double the number of volunteers he was expecting showed up at the park so the work got done much quicker than he expected.
The church's timing was perfect, said Joann Wolfe, the borough's parks and recreation director.
She said one of the two park maintenance employees is temporarily off due to medical reasons, but maintaining the park is a big job even for two people.
“They reached out to us and we gladly accepted. They were wonderful,” Wolfe said.
The park needed a good cleaning, she said.
“They were wonderful. We're happy to have them,” she said.