From July 10-15, church volunteers will be out in full force as part of Shine Week, during which they will perform small acts of kindness throughout the community. Organizers James and Cassie Allen said the effort began three years ago and has grown ever since.
“I had seen other churches do what they call ‘Love Week,’ big-city churches … and I thought, ‘Our church name is Sunnyside. Let’s do Shine Week, because we’re shining the light of Jesus into the community,’ ” Cassie said.
What will take place?
The week will officially kick off this Wednesday evening, when the church will host a block party from 6-8 p.m. as part of Fun Fest. The event will include free food, inflatables, games, a petting zoo and other activities for families.
The first full day of service will be Thursday, when church members will cook and deliver meals to TLC in Elizabethton, participate in a fundraiser for Isaiah 117 House and pack overnight bags for children in foster care.
Later in the week, church volunteers will put on puppet shows at Brookdale Assisted Living and visit with residents, hold free car washes around town and deliver snack baskets to families in hospital waiting rooms, among other things.
What is the impact?
Over the last three years, Shine Week has grown both in reach and in number of volunteers. Last year, church members recorded 172,000 volunteer hours, compared to 1,200 hours the previous year.
While the effort does have a big impact in the community, James said it also impacts the volunteers who serve.
“It’s not just reaching other people; it’s changing us, too,” James said. “We’re seeing things in a different light.”
Moving forward, James and Cassie said they would like to see the Shine ministry grow into a year-round effort.
“Sometimes we lose focus; we come to church and we just do our same routine, but we’re commanded to go out, so that’s what we’re trying to do,” James said. “It’s been amazing to see how God’s used us.”