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Care-A-Van Ministries Free Community Cookouts

By Michele Lawson

Care-A-Van Ministries has been holding a free community cookout every Thursday night at Austin Park since mid-May and the response by the community has been tremendous. On average, the ministry serves between 350 – 450 meals per event to local community members, seniors from Washington Towers, and families who are enjoying the spray park.

But the event is not only about the food! It is about sharing the love of Jesus Christ with those in the community through uplifting music from the all-volunteer Care-A-Van worship team, inspirational words of encouragement from Pastors from various churches and denominations in our local community, and the commitment of local organizations such as the Salvation Army, Total Freedom, Truth Ministries, Living Waters Apostolic Ministries, P.C. Publications, Fidelis Care, GCASA, Mothers Supporting Children and Families, and many others in joining together to meet the needs of their community members.

Ride to Recovery, an organization devoted to reaching youth in need through biking events and activities, provides free bike repairs on Thursday nights. A favorite with the kids is the YMCA and Eagle Fountain Fellowship’s Care-A-Van kids which provides a bounce house, children’s messages, and activities during the evenings activities. Volunteers provide face painting, caricature drawings, and many other activities for the children in attendance.

Anthony “Smokie” LoCastro has brought a large donation of rain boots to the park which has provided free footwear for several hundred individuals within our community.

Most importantly, Care-A-Van wishes to thank all their committed, consistent, and faithful volunteers, because without them we couldn’t put on these cookouts week after week.

We encourage any organization, church, or agency to come out on Thursday night and join in this exciting outreach to our community members.

For more information you can contact Paul Ohlson at 343-0328, see us on Facebook, visit our website at, or email us at [email protected].

Care-A-Van Ministries Weekly Community Outreach Cookouts About To Begin At Austin Park

By Michele Lawson

The warm weather is coming, the cookout vehicle is being readied, and the grills are being tested!!!! Why???? Well, the reason is simple….free community cookouts are about to begin at Austin Park.

Care-A-Van Ministries will begin their 8th summer of hosting free community cookouts and their 3rd year at Austin Park!!!! Cookouts will begin on Thursday, May 15th and run through September 18th from 5 pm until8 pm ---- rain or shine.

Each meal consists of a choice of hot dog or hamburger,potato and macaroni salad, pickles, chips, watermelon and a drink. In 2012, during the first summer of cookouts at Austin Park, 4388 meals were served, and 4936 meals were served during the summer of 2013. Care-A-Van expects that the summer of 2014 will see even more meals served as schools will be closed (no free/reduced lunches for children), as many individuals are still facing economic hardship, and most importantly, many just love to come out and enjoy a warm summer evening of fellowship, music, and a great meal.

Each week, cookouts are highlighted with an inspirational gospel message by a different Pastor from a local community church and uplifting music provided by the Care-A-Van Band. Many organizations, including the Salvation Army, Eagles Fountain Fellowship, Fidelis Care, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Genesee Country Church, Truth Ministries, R2R Ministries, Living Waters Apostolic Ministries, GCASA, and Discovery Chapel have come out on these Thursday nights to share information about their services, their churches, or just to fellowship with those attending the cookouts. The YMCA and EaglesFountain Fellowship generously provided a bounce house last summer which was a highlight with all the children attending.

Care-A-Van encourages any organization or church that is interested in setting up a table or activity to contact Paul Ohlson at 343-0328. We welcome those interested in serving their community.

Wouldn’t you like to be part of the local missions field????

See you at Austin Park!!!!!

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