It is with heartfelt thanks we say thank you to all of our many volunteers and supporters. Over two weekends almost 600 volunteers came out to give their time and talents, representing over 4,000 volunteer hours. We had volunteers from Brenham, Beaumont, The Woodlands, Lufkin, Houston, Sugar Land and many other towns. We also thank our partnering churches, Alief Baptist, Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Church, The Fellowship at Cinco Ranch, Grace Fellowship UMC, Grand Lakes Presbyterian and many more. Your participation is helping us change our community for the better. A special thank you to our community partners, Kosmos Coffee and Chick-Fil-A, who graciously donated food and coffee for both weekends.
Help now, go to Disney later
By TOM BEHRENS
Several Katy churches and the Katy Family YMCA are gathering volunteers in preparation for the fifth annual Katy ServeFest on Feb. 27 and March 6.
Katy ServeFest is a yearly program organized by Compassion Katy with the goal of benefiting local nonprofits. Compassion Katy was started in 2005 by people at the Fellowship of Cinco Ranch to provide the extra help needed for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina who had relocated to the Katy area.
Diane Walker, executive director of Katy ServeFest, said this year’s program will benefit the Pregnancy Help Center, 1450 E. Summitry Circle, Katy, and the YMCA Camp Cinco, 15050 Cinco Park Blvd., Katy.
This year Compassion Katy is also a partner with the Walt Disney Company in its “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” promotion. Each volunteer that registers online with the Walt Disney Co. will receive a ticket good for one-day admission to any Walt Disney Park.
“We want to inspire one million people to volunteer a day of service to a participating organization in their communities,” according to the Disney organization’s Web site at http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/disneyparks/en_US/WhatWillYouCelebrate/…
“So we’re celebrating these volunteers’ good works by giving each of them a one-day, one-theme park ticket to the Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World Resort, free.”
Katy churches participating this year are Grace Fellowship United Methodist Church, Grand Lakes Presbyterian, Fellowship of Cinco Ranch, Vineyard Church and The Crossings. Volunteers do not need to be a member of one of the participating churches or the Katy Family YMCA to help out.
Fellowship at Cinco Ranch, through the leadership of Walker, is organizing the event, rounding up church volunteers, monetary support and supplies. Walker also finds nonprofits that could use help with cleanup, repairs, painting and other projects.
Some of the participating churches have certain jobs they do every year, but most provide volunteers who are ready and willing to help where needed.
“We very seldom have one church that does just one section of the list,” said Walker, “although I know in the past Grace Fellowship volunteers have helped out in landscaping. Grand Lakes Presbyterian Church volunteers have helped in past years in doing pressure washer work.
“The whole point is to get the different churches to do different things together,” said Walker. “We just try to give them different areas of accountability to try to help each church have a leadership role.”
The Katy Family YMCA, 22807 Westheimer Parkway, is unique in that the organization is providing volunteers for the program, but YMCA Camp Cinco will be one of the beneficiaries of Katy ServeFest. Camp Cinco is located next to Creech Elementary School, 5905 S. Mason Road.
“Camp Cinco can use a lot of volunteers. “The YMCA has so many needs they say they can keep 250 people busy for a day, two days in a row,” said Walker.
“There is a whole list of things we are working on,” said Brian Holmes, Katy YMCA executive director. “It’s both cosmetic and repair to the existing site, everything from cleaning, painting, carpentry, building fences and also some new initiatives. For example, last year volunteers helped install a playground that had been donated. They also assisted in moving an outdoor theater which consisted of a stage and seating to a different location and painting.”
Last year ServeFest had 450 volunteers. Walker said she has 600 people signed up so far, but there is room for more.
“People can come out the day of the event at either Camp Cinco or the Pregnancy Help Center and we can get them started. If they want the Disney pass, we can sign them up for that, also.
We encourage people to stay until all the projects are completed, but we understand if you have to leave early,” said Walker.