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Volunteers spruce up Westway playground

The playground in the Westway neighborhood was hardly suitable for children early Sunday morning — trash and broken beer bottles littered the area.

By Sunday afternoon, the playground was sparkling clean with the help of volunteers from Family Life Christian Center in Federal Way.

A team of more than 20 volunteers picked up trash, mowed, trimmed, weed-whacked and sifted through gravel for broken glass.

“It’s kind of like mining for gold, except it’s mining for trash so the little ones don’t get glass in their feet,” said Shawn Zieglmeier, who collected enough bits of broken glass to fill three empty water bottles.

“A lot of the parents are afraid to let their kids play over here because of all the broken glass,” Zieglmeier said.

One of the scariest discoveries made at the park was a spent bullet, said Daryl Emerson, a church member who helped clean up.

By the time the volunteers packed up and headed out at noon, they had collected a huge truckload of trash. There was nothing they could do about the broken slide.

The volunteer effort at Westway was one of 10 service projects the church participated in on Sunday instead of having a traditional service. They called it a Faith in Action day. More than 200 church members participated.

“Today we’re trying to be the church instead of go to the church,” said church member Sherri Pruett.

Pastor Diane Larson called the projects “random acts of kindness.”

Projects included delivering sandwiches to the homeless, passing out water and washing windows at a gas station, cleaning up the park at Westway, paying for people’s laundry at a laundromat, passing out water at the skate park, knitting hats for children, visiting hospitals, writing letters thanking people who positively contribute to the community, and compiling necessity kits with toothpaste, snacks and supplies for the homeless.

One group headed to the home of a single mom whose 7-year-old son was badly burned. They cleaned, dusted, worked in the yard, moved furniture, hung curtains, cleaned the roof and completed various chores.

“It was very humbling,” said church member Cynthia Blythe.

After the projects were completed, members headed to a picnic and worship at Five Mile Lake Park. They shared stories about their experiences.

“I feel great about it,” Larson said.

“Our point was to do random acts of kindness and not solicit church members,” she said. “We didn’t want people to feel like they’re trapped in a laundromat with someone trying to convert them.”

The church, which is almost 1 year old, plans to host a community service day each summer.

Contact Margo Horner: mhorner@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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