Armed with rakes and other garden tools, ten students from Gonzaga University raked leaves and did other yard work at a home in Knoxville. They were all bundled up, as the thermometer read 32 degrees that morning!
Shelby Wells, Gonzaga student says, "It is work we can do at home, but there's something about coming to a community you are not familiar with and being immersed in a different culture you are not familiar with."
This same group from Washington state built a 70 foot wheelchair ramp in North Knox County, and a 20 foot ramp in East Knoxville.
It's hard core labor for low income or disabled families they don't even know. They were projects through the Knoxville Leadership Foundation's Operation Backyard.
Adam Montgomery of KLF says, "As a minor home repair ministry, of Knoxville Leadership, Operation Backyard focuses on rebuilding communities, reconciling relationships and serving others in the name of Christ. So we are all about getting out in the community and having the volunteers here takes it to the next level."
Rachel Rasmussen is the students coordinator. She says, "Some people choose (to join this program and travel to Knoxville) based on the work, some people choose it because they have never been to this part of the country and they want to come."
And if ramps and raking aren't enough.
"We also work with the boys and girls club in the afternoons, so when we are done this work we go to the boys and girls clubs and do work there,"
Certainly not the typical spring break, but Wells says there is no place else she'd rather be.
"So happy I am here," says Wells.
More than a long day's work, on their time off, their time to relax turned into volunteer spirit.
"They are a great group of students, very hard working. They are a blessing to work with," adds Montgomery.
There is a waiting list of over 300 projects that need either funding or manpower. If you would like to help, grab the link for more information.