ANDERSON — After doing service projects all over the world, Pastor Mark Shaner said kids at East Side Church of God questioned why they rarely work around Anderson.
Monday through Wednesday, kids and teens from four area churches joined together for Project 765.
The point, Shaner said, was partly to bring hope to the city.
“It helps the kids understand they can contribute to their community,” he said. "It’s so easy to talk negatively about your city and not do anything. It helps them take pride in their city.”
The primary projects included painting the Anderson High School gymnasium, AHS auditorium, visiting residents at Bethany Pointe and Harter House and working at parks such as Shadyside and Dove Harbor.
Some of the outdoor work got cut short because of rain Wednesday, however.
Bethany Christian Church Youth Pastor Chris Bell said about 30 kids from his congregation participated in Project 765. Some of them helped scrub lockers and railings at Anderson High School both days, and some helped with yard work along 18th Street Tuesday.
“There was even a time they asked a lady if they could help her,” Bell said. “It’s awesome to see the kids do that without complaining and without questioning it.”
Bell said even those who started complaining a little bit redirected their feelings almost immediately.
Youth ministries from East Side Church of God, Bethany Christian Church, Madison Park Church of God and New Covenant Kingdom Ministries all participated in the volunteer project, Shaner said.
The first Project 765 work camp was organized in 2011 and has grown since then.
The churches joined forces to help the community through volunteerism, but also to show kids that there’s only one God, and really only one church.
“It’s also the idea of working with people who you normally wouldn’t work with,” said Presont Kegley, pastor of youth outreach at East Side Church of God. “The sad thing is it’s easy to be stuck in your own bubble, in your own church.