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Upward Fitness, Kind at Heart partner for service day

by Janelle Jessen | April 16, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

SILOAM SPRINGS -- Kind at Heart Ministry partnered with Upward Fitness clients and staff members for a day of service at Colonial Estates Mobile Home Park on Saturday.

About 35 volunteers from Upward Fitness spent the morning helping nine Kind at Heart clients who live in the park, according to gym owner Erik Leetch. The volunteers stained wheelchair ramps, painted, pressure washed houses, mowed yards, planted flowers and built raised garden planters, said Pastor Wayne Thomas, founder and director of Kind at Heart Ministries.

The volunteers included people of all ages, and children spent their time making and delivering vegetable cards and cards, Thomas said. Rib Crib catered lunch for the volunteers and the group also helped Mary Fields celebrate her 91st birthday, he said.

Leetch said he was connected with Kind at Heart Ministries before starting his gym so he knew that he wanted to use his business as an opportunity to gather people for a good cause, he said.

"We're more than just a gym, we want to touch people in many ways," Leetch said.

He said he wasn't surprised by the number of his clients who were willing to spend their Saturday serving others.

"Wayne's heart is to take the community and get them connected into the elderly community and just provide love and help and share Jesus and that is something we very much want to be a part of," he said.

Fields, who will be turning 91 in a few weeks, said volunteers painted her wheelchair ramp, fixed her sidewalk and mowed her yard on Saturday morning. She explained that she is hard of hearing and legally blind, so she couldn't tackle the jobs on her own.

"Oh, they're great," she said of the volunteers. "They're wonderful, I'm so glad."

Kind at Heart Ministry helps seniors stay in the homes by performing basic maintenance and repairs, doing yard work, installing safety and accessibility items such as wheelchair ramps and grip bars, and providing friendship and connection through home visits and birthday celebrations, according to the organization's website, kindatheart.org.

"It's on my heart to just help people understand that elderly season, that winter season in life, things happen, you're lonely, you can't do the things you used to do, and like Mary said when she came out this morning and the team gathered to pray with her, she was just amazed at all the things she got done," Thomas said.

All of the ministry's projects are done by volunteers so Kind at Heart relies on local businesses and organizations to help make an impact in the community, according to Thomas said. The nonprofit makes it easy for businesses and organizations to plug into the community and volunteer by providing a place to serve, tools, and direction and oversight, he said.

"When the community is ready to respond and help people who are less fortunate, who can't live on their own, to me that has a lot to say about Siloam Springs and so that's what we want to do, we want to plug people in," Thomas said.

For more information or to find ways to volunteer, visit kindatheart.org.

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