ShareFest spreads help for 6th year
Ellie Phipps Oliver used to be a ShareFest volunteer, helping locals rake and clean up trash. This year, nearly two years after a drunk driver crashed into her vehicle at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Seventh Street, Phipps Oliver was the one needing help.
“It’s humbling,” the Redlands woman said Sunday morning, while wearing her Thoraco-Lumbo-Sacral Orthosis blue brace.
Now in its sixth year locally, ShareFest is a weekend set aside for volunteers from dozens of area churches to serve the community.
“We are the hands and feet of Jesus,” said Vicki McGee, project coordinator for ShareFest.
McGee estimated nearly 1,000 requests for help came in this year, and upwards of 2,000 volunteers from more than 30 churches stepped up to serve as many people as possible during ShareFest on Saturday and Sunday.
One of the people needing help was Phipps Oliver. The Grand Junction woman, who used to climb mountains, can no longer bend over, so ShareFest volunteers cleaned out her flower bed, trimmed back trees and did other yard chores.
“It feels good to know the flowers are going to come up,” Phipps Oliver said.
This year’s requests for ShareFest ranged from basic outdoor work in yards to more complex tasks such as the reconstruction of a roof for a paraplegic man.
Some of the requests were from homeowners. Some came from businesses.
Nearly a dozen volunteers were at the Christ Center, 1235 Bookcliff Ave., on Sunday afternoon, cleaning, scrubbing and fixing whatever needed it.
Executive Director Teri Edwards had a smile on her face as all the work the nonprofit needed done was being addressed.
Two of those volunteers were Tristin Niemeyer, 9, and sister Tatum Niemeyer, 12.
The girls cleaned windows, fixed board games, and scrubbed floors.
“It helps to give back to our community,” Tristin said.
Funny thing about cleaning, Tatum added, it’s way more fun to help others than to clean her own house.