About 250 campers at Redwood Camp Meeting volunteered for the first Redwood Community Service Day on Friday, July 31.
Over the past six decades, the annual 10-day camp meeting, held in the Northern California Conference, has provided spiritual renewal for thousands of people. The theme for 2015 was “Christ’s Method Alone: Building Relationships.” “We wanted to give people the opportunity to be a blessing to the local community—to put this year’s theme into action,” said NCC Executive Secretary Marc Woodson, who organized the event with his wife, Marlene. Each volunteer wore a bright yellow shirt with Matthew 20:28 written on the back: “Jesus came not to be served, but to serve others.”
The volunteers tackled a wide range of projects in the nearby communities of Fortuna and Eureka. Many campers worked together to pick up 1,540 pounds of trash along the Eel River. (A local television newscast reported on their work.) “My favorite part of the day was walking the river bed with my dad, and finding a muffler that we joked was a piece of NASA equipment that fell from the sky,” said 13-year-old Tim Mason, from the Lodi English Oaks church. “It made me feel good that I knew I was helping clean the world.”
A number of volunteers worked at Miranda’s Rescue for Large & Small Animals, where they walked dogs, built goat pens, painted, weeded and performed other tasks. “The owner was so overwhelmed by the number of volunteers that he had to stop several times—as he was giving us assignments—to tell us how blessed he felt to have so many there,” said Carol Anne Cruise, a member of Redwood Valley company.
The organization’s owners, Shannon Miranda and Dean Paris, later wrote a thank you message: “You were the best large volunteer group we have had in the last ten years! … Your kindness will never be forgotten!”
A number of other volunteers worked at Fortuna’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, making quilts for a women’s shelter and sewing pillowcases for a children’s hospital, among other tasks. The congregation’s public affairs specialist, Sylvia Jutila, helped connect the Adventists to volunteer opportunities around Fortuna. “What a fantastic gift to our city,” said Jutila. “All of the places where they served could not get over the wonderful aid and assistance they provided.”
Campers also worked at several food banks, a library, a thrift store, a community center, and another church. “We received so much positive feedback—both from the volunteers and the people they helped—that we plan to make this an annual event,” said Woodson.