Arrow-right Camera
News >  Features >  Washington Voices

Church volunteers will tackle projects at 15 CV schools

At Summit School, head custodian Randall Ogle has been taking care of maintenance projects all summer, but some of his work has been delayed by local vandals.

Someone threw rocks through the windows. Graffiti was sprayed all over the north side of the building. Someone even tossed a smoke bomb through one of the broken windows and melted the carpet.

Ogle said he lost two days of work cleaning up the mess.

Vandals or not, however, there are many projects at local schools that get put aside for more pressing needs. At Summit, weeds along the perimeter of the school need pulling. The sign in front of the school needs painting and there are about 48 yards of gravel left where the school’s playground used to be that need to be moved to the playground’s new location.

This is where Eastpoint Church’s Summer of Service steps in. On Aug. 11, volunteers will gather their shovels and work gloves and descend upon 15 schools in the Central Valley School District, taking care of projects so the maintenance crew doesn’t have to worry about them.

The event is a lot bigger this year. Last year, around 200 to 300 volunteers worked on projects at nine schools. This year, they are tackling 15 schools and need about 500 volunteers to complete the projects they have planned.

“We want to bless every single school in the school district that has needs,” said Matt King, community pastor at Eastpoint.

King said volunteers will need to arrive at the school at 6:30 a.m. to start work at 7 a.m. Volunteers will work for five hours.

While this is Eastpoint’s fourth year organizing the Summer of Service, churches throughout Spokane have organized under the Greater Spokane Association of Evangelicals to work on projects in the Mead and Spokane school districts.

King said he hopes the program in Spokane Valley will expand in years to come to include the West Valley and East Valley districts.

Ogle has been the head custodian of Summit for five years and has worked for CVSD for 29. Last year was the first time Summit benefited from the Summer of Service.

“They were just very effective,” Ogle said. Everyone gathered to paint the corridor inside the school.

“It’s a bonus for us,” he said. At Summit, Ogle has one other employee to keep up with maintenance. During the school year, many projects are put on hold until the summer, and even then there is more work to be done.

“Our schedule is pretty full,” he said.

King said there are many people who volunteer, not just members of his church. The great thing about working together is coming together with a common goal and not noticing the differences between the churches.

“When they do something that makes somebody happy it feels good,” King said.

King said they have worked with the school districts and are careful not to overstep their boundaries, making sure nothing they do is in violation of union contracts.

At Summit, King said around 24 people will shovel pea gravel into dump trucks. The gravel will be moved to the playground and spread to the depth required by the health department. Two people will work on sanding and re-painting the sign in front of the school. The rest of the 30 volunteers will remove weeds from the perimeter of the school.

Although moving the gravel will be the biggest job of the day, King doesn’t expect they will move all of the gravel.

“We’re going to put a good dent in it,” he said.