Equipped with mops, sponges, cleaning supplies and perhaps most importantly, willing hearts, over 25 volunteers gathered on Saturday, February 4 and began the extraordinary effort of revitalizing the Aquidneck Island Christian Academy (AICA).  From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the group gave the elementary school a deep cleaning along with much needed repairs and a major reorganization.  

Jordan Terrell (age 10) was among the many volunteers hard at work cleaning at the EFC 2017 Year of Care launch AICA last Saturday

Located on East Main Road in Portsmouth, RI the AICA is the first beneficiary of the EFC 2017 Year of Care outreach program.

“It was unquestionable that God’s hand was at work,” said Todd Hutchison, EFC 2017 Year of Care Coordinator.  “We had 28 volunteers from both EFC Newport and AICA; we got three classrooms and the hallway cleaned, repairs accomplished, and amazing work done in the boiler room. God’s presence was most apparent in the smiles of both adults and kids alike!”

The idea for the innovative outreach program was born after a contentious Presidential election last fall and the ensuing nationwide unrest.  The EFC Newport congregation felt called to be proactive.  The enthusiastic church members created the EFC 2017 Year of Care to make a peaceful impact on a local level.  Prayer, care and financial resources will all be offered to demonstrate God’s love. Five local non-profit groups: the Aquidneck Island Christian Academy, Young Lives Newport County, Looking Upwards, Lucy’s Hearth and the Newport Housing Hotline will receive support for an average of two months each during the year ahead.  

Saturday, February 11 and 18, 2017 are the next scheduled outreach for the AICA project.  Individuals and groups outside of the EFC Newport congregation are encouraged and welcome to join the effort. Painting hallways and classrooms are the projects scheduled for these days, as well as continued organization and minor repairs.

“What a blessing just to be there, and to know that we are helping to make an already amazing school just a little better for those students and faculty,” Hutchison continued. “That’s what it is all about.

EFC Newport is a contemporary Christian church located at 70 Bliss Mine Road, Middletown, RI. All are welcome.  For more information visit www.efcnewport.com or call 401-847-1490.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).