Church group helps clean up Shingle Creek Park

By Elizabeth Morrisey

For the News-Gazette

Leesburg’s World Mission Society Church of God recently chose Kissimmee for their monthly volunteer community outreach.

Fifty-three church members went to Shingle Creek Regional Park on Jan. 29 to clean up litter, debris and even tires that were dumped illegally.

“We do this to reveal the love of God the Mother,” said Carlos Losada, a deacon of the church and branch church manager. The other branches of the church along the east coast also participated in a volunteer project. “We get to preach the gospel to others. Jesus said to love one another, but not many people know about God the Mother.”

Losada said they are committed to helping Osceola County and plan to open a branch of the church in Kissimmee later this year.

“This is a way to have a presence in Osceola County. We want to make relationships there.”

The World Mission Society Church of God was established in 1964 and has branches in 185 countries around the world. In Florida, the church has branches in Jacksonville, Tampa, Miami, Leesburg and Lake Worth.

“We will plan a volunteer project every month. We are talking about how we can help Give Kids the World,” said Losada.

The Church of God not only works with local agencies, but many volunteers are certified to help with disaster relief and the Red Cross. Through its volunteer efforts, the church wants to “Care for the Earth with the Love of Mother.”

Steve Lackey, with Kissimmee’s parks and recreation department, said they get inquiries from several service groups looking for local projects. The city encourages volunteers to help on VIP (Volunteer in the Park) days which occur three times per year.

“This helps us maximize the amount of volunteers and helps to make a big impact,” he said.

The next VIP day is May 13 at the Bob Makinson Aquatic Center to help clean up before the season starts. Volunteers will pressure wash the pool area, paint different items and clean chairs. There will also be one Sept. 23 at the KaBoom! playground on Oak Street. The city also holds an annual VIP event around Martin Luther King Jr. day.

One of the favorites is a clean up at Lakefront Park and Shingle Creek. Volunteers can drop in their kayaks and canoes to clean up by the water’s edge.

“We like to mix it up with different things,” Lackey said. “It’s an extensive clean up day.”