Students do everything from yard work to washing police cruisers during Labors of Love

300 FCA

May 04, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE |
  • Nearly 300 Faith Christian Academy students participated in the school's annual Labors of Love community-service project. Among the participants were, Nekane Moyer, seated left, Kaitlyn Loy, seated right; Hannah Hearn, standing left; and Alyssa Everly, standing right.
By Richard F. Belisle

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Last year, fifth-grader Hannah Hearn and some of her classmates washed fire trucks; this year it was police cruisers.

Hannah, 11, was one of nearly 300 Faith Christian Academy prekindergarten to 12th grade students taking part in their school’s annual Labors of Love community-service project.

Teams of students were sent to 48 work sites Friday morning in Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson counties in West Virginia, and Washington County in Maryland.

Their tasks ranged from simple landscape projects like raking, weeding and planting flowers to house-cleaning chores, pet care, roadway trash pickup, trail building, painting, washing windows and emergency vehicles and singing to nursing-home residents.

Among the beneficiaries of the students’ efforts were public parks, nursing homes, senior citizen centers, police departments, charitable agencies, area businesses and homes of older residents.

“We don’t accept any money from anyone we help,” said Deborah Helman, the academy’s director of student activities and coordinator of the Labors of Love project since it began 14 years ago.

“This is all about the students being servants of God by helping the community and fellowship.”

A moving sea of green T-shirts — about $3,000 worth, worn by the 500 participants, including academy students, parents, teachers and other adult supporters — flowed across War Memorial Park at noon Friday as the participants gathered for lunch.

The students designed the shirts, but money to buy them was donated by five area business sponsors, Helman said.

Labors of Love brings in up to $45,000 a year for the school from financial pledges made to the participants, “much like what you see when people donate to those in walkathons and things like that,” Helman said.

“The little ones do simple things like pick up trash and plant flowers in safe places,” she said.

A parent, teacher or other adult accompany the students at the work sites.

Nekane Moyer, 8, and Kaitlyn Loy, who said she was “6 1/2,” sang religious songs in nursing homes.

Hannah Hearn, who was in a crew washing cruisers for the Martinsburg Police Department, said she came away from her morning’s work “with a smile knowing I did something for the Lord by helping other people.”

Seniors Alyssa Everly, 17, and Draylin Lewis, 18, were assigned to a home in Hagerstown to help a young married couple suffering from serious medical problems with yard work, walking their dog and planting flowers.

Lewis plans to study psychology at Anderson University in South Carolina. Everly said she wants to study zoology at Oswego University in Oswego, N.Y.

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