For over four decades the congregation at Colfax Baptist Church has hosted a Vacation Bible School for area youth.
This year, however, they are breaking away from the traditional summer activity and are planning a family-friendly summer festival on Saturday, Aug. 1.
“We want to reach out to families in our community and let them know we are here and care about them,” said Debra Fulenwider, who started planning the festival last fall.
The main purpose of the festival will be providing 350 gift bags filled with school supplies to youth during the free community event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Sierra Vista Center, 55 School St.
“We want to help families out by starting with the basic necessities,” added Fulenwider. “But we also want this event to be something for the whole family. We are planning to fix enough food for 500 people.”
Festivities include music performed by a band, drawings for prizes, bounce houses and clothes donated by the local Community Thrift store.
Also on hand will be illusionist Bernard Bradshaw, who will be giving two stage performances as well as making balloon creations throughout the day.
Other participants include the Placer County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue Team, the Placer County Sheriff’s Department Canine Unit and the National Center for Child’s Safety Awareness.
“We know that a lot of families are struggling to make ends meet and some have just lost their jobs,” explained the long-time Colfax resident. “We will be offering free haircuts (from noon to 1 p.m.) for school age children as well as a booth with job and career information.”
Colfax Baptist Church has a long history of showing love to families in Colfax by sponsoring the Harvest Festival on Oct. 31 and the Children’s Easter Festival on the Saturday before Easter.
However, when the congregation considered whom they were reaching with the summer Bible school, they decided to create a free community outreach event.
“We have always done a Vacation Bible School and debated whether to do a one day event or have summer clubs at various Colfax locations. There was strong support to do both, but we just didn’t have the workers,” said Fulenwider. “It is my hope that next year we can offer both programs.”
Between 80 and 100 people attend services at Colfax Baptist Church, she noted.
“Because this is a one-day event it is easier for people to commit their time and energy. We have over 40 volunteers from several local churches and organizations. We need a lot of help to set up games and help serve lunch.”
“I am glad we are doing this so kids can get free school supplies,” said 10-year-old Hannah Wren of Colfax, who helped fill gift bags last Sunday. “It is going to be fun to spend the day with friends.”
The Colfax congregation feels it is time to take a stronger stand to strengthen community ties.
“We want to be better neighbors to those around us,” concluded Fulenwider.
7/23/09 – by Marci Seither, Colfax Record correspondent