More than 300 members of the Alliance Christian Fellowship church “impacted” Eagle River on Sun., Sept. 25, by providing 60 oil changes at no charge and completing a myriad of clean-up projects around the community.
“We love being here. We love Eagle River. These are our neighbors, our friends, and our co-workers. We want to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our community,” Stuart Poteet, ACF discipleship pastor said. “We want to give back to those people that make Eagle River such an awesome, beautiful place to live.”
Twenty-five teams tackled various projects in the Eagle River area suggested by locals over the past few weeks.
These projects included:
- Inventory change over for the Heart-to-Heart Pregnancy Resource Center. Summer clothes were packed away and winter items stocked as well decorating for fall.
- At Love, Inc. of Eagle River, ACF members re-organized the office furniture and sorted through boxes of materials to help the organization that works as a clearinghouse for locals in need to streamline operations.
- Vegetation that could be considered an impalement hazard was cut away from 15 feet on each side of a new bike trail behind Mirror Lake Middle School. “They took out anything that could be dangerous for a bike rider to fall on,” Poteet said.
- Loose debris from a trail near the Beach Lake Chalet was cleared.
- Trash was removed from courtyards at Chugiak High School and general weeding, trimming and edging completed.
- Trash was picked up from the playground at Homestead Elementary School and other grounds-keeping that is lower on the priority list for the district’s official maintenance team was completed.
- Plans to paint two outdoor sheds at Eagle River Elementary were thwarted by early morning rains. That crew opted to pick up trash along the entire stretch of the Old Glenn Highway through Eagle River proper as well as adjacent neighborhoods.
- A new flag pole at Eagle River Christian Academy was installed.
- Yard work for four residents with physical limitations was completed by another crew.
- Vegetation clean-up was completed in the parking lot perimeter at the Stages of Learning clinic.
- Home baked goods were delivered to military personnel at the JBER entry gates, the local fire stations, and the police department.
The church brought in a 40-foot dumpster to collect all the trash and other materials.
Initially, Poteet thought that might be overkill. Turns out, he said, he was mistaken. But in a good way, he added. “We absolutely completely filled it and then some,” Poteet said mid-afternoon Sunday. “It is pretty crazy. You just don’t realize how much trash and clippings are out there, I guess, until you start looking for it.”
While debris and trash were collected, crews completed oil changes in the church parking. Another crew was assigned to retrieve necessary parts from O’Reilly Auto Parts. Jess Leona was one of the church members supporting the work of the oil-changing crews. “I love how involved this church is and how we give back to the community,” Leona said. “I love that we come together and bring the love of Christ in a very tangible and practical way.”
Sunday’s effort is the seventh annual “Impact Eagle River” event. In past years, church members funded a “gas buy-down” day allowing motorists to fuel up at a cut rate. Three years ago, church members added the no-charge oil changes to help single parents. This year, they expanded eligibility to families with adopted, foster or special needs children.
While it is tough to estimate the economic impact of the sum of work completed Sunday afternoon, calculating 60 oil changes at an average of $40 equals $2,400 in savings church members provided for locals with limited resources.
“That is what this is all about,” Poteet said, “Helping others.”