The second annual Lift in Love Serve-a-thon on Sept. 10 raised nearly $42,000, and donations are still coming in.
Steve Bouley, a tireless volunteer (and Salvation Army’s volunteer of the year) coordinated the fundraising and community service events. The proceeds are shared between the Salvation Army and Mobile Loaves and Fishes, an organization that feeds the homeless and hungry.
Throughout New Bedford and in neighboring communities, people were participating in events to raise funds and work on projects to better the community. "People from all walks of life worked together side-by-side," Bouley said.
A group participated in a 72-mile round-trip bike ride they call the Pilgrim Ride, according to Bouley who was one of the riders. ”We call it the Pilgrim Ride because in riding our bikes to Plymouth we show how close we are to where the original settlers arrived.” He noted the fundraising ride navigated the group through some awesome scenery.
According to Bouley, Mayor Jon Mitchell was one of 45 people who helped to paint the entire length of fence around Hazelwood Park on Brock Avenue.
In Cooke Memorial Park in Fairhaven, a group doing landscape work, brought to life an area where two large monumental stones are erected.
Another group volunteered at the YMCA Community Farm on Gulf Road in Dartmouth.
There was a skydiving team, a variety show and numerous other events to raise money that will be of great assistance to the two organizations.
There were also more than 125 individuals and businesses who donated $100 or more.
“The wonderful thing about this is that every single penny raised goes to the Salvation Army and Lift in Love,” Bouley said. “There are no administrative costs, even the printing is donated.
“My personal favorite was the “unknown pogo person,” who bounced around in the symbolism of people who are not rooted or grounded,” Bouley said noting, “When people find Christ, they become rooted and grounded.
“I didn’t find out until later that it was my granddaughter bouncing around.”
“This was our second annual serve-a-thon,” Bouley said. “We do it to help make the community better. Our groups work with the population that most people don’t want to deal with.
“We are here to serve the least, the last, the lowest and the lost among us,” he said.