Churches serve Suffolk well

Published 10:17 pm Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Several Suffolk churches partnered this week to give back to the community.

Suffolk’s Serve the City began with a kick-off event at Southside Baptist Church on Sunday. The fourth annual Suffolk mission trip brought together Southside Baptist Church, Open Door Church of Suffolk and Cypress Chapel Christian Church to assist seven local schools.

“Serve the City is basically going out, loving on the community, and asking for nothing in return,” said Terry Violette, director of Serve the City Suffolk and a Southside Baptist Church member.

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Team leaders met with principals at Elephant’s Fork Elementary, Kilby Shores Elementary, Booker T. Washington Elementary, Nansemond Parkway Elementary, Forest Glen Middle, Lakeland High and King’s Fork High schools during the past several months. Each school supplied the materials needed for its requested renovations this week.

“They provide the material, and we provide the labor,” Violette said.

More than 120 volunteers were spread between Lakeland, Elephant’s Fork, King’s Fork and Kilby Shores on Wednesday. They painted hallways, polished desks and cleaned windows inside the schools, along with outdoor landscaping.

Kilby Shores principal Lorri Banks was grateful for the work at her school.

“They’ve helped to make it a lot more pleasant for the kids,” Banks said. “What they do is extremely important, and it’s a great way to give back to the community.”

Bishop Brian Outlaw Sr., the senior pastor and founder of Divine Church of Deliverance and Transformation Holiness in Suffolk, has been a custodian at Kilby Shores for 30 years. His opinion of the volunteers grows each year they help with the workload.

“It makes it much easier,” Outlaw said. “They’re very good people, and we work together to get the job done.”

Many of the volunteers on Wednesday were church families. Allison Carr, a member of Southside Baptist, was at Kilby Shores with her husband, Nathan, and their children.

She said all of them enjoy doing community service work, but Serve the City gives them the chance to do it together.

“This is the one every year that we love, because we can serve as a whole family,” she said.

Caitlyn Knight, Carr’s 15-year-old cousin, was visiting from Dallas. She enjoyed volunteering at Kilby Shores with the others.

“It’s fun,” Knight said. “It’s just good to see how many people want to spread the word of God, and come together as a community to do that.”

Kilby Shores is also the site of Backyard Kids Club Monday through Friday, offering children who have completed first through sixth grade free games, crafts and church lessons behind the school. Violette said the program was modeled after vacation Bible schools.

“We’ve taken vacation Bible school outside the walls of the church and into the community,” he said. “Instead of asking children to come to the church, we go to them.”

Some parents have come daily, with their children enjoying the arts and craft tables.

“It’s a little hot, but it’s been great,” said Suffolk resident and Southside Baptist Church member Kelly Johnson.

Serve the City will conclude with a Neighborhood Block Party at Kilby Shores from noon to 3 p.m. on Friday. Hotdogs, chips and drinks will be served free of charge, along with various games.