K-15: Volunteers flood to Water Angels ministry

Students work to beautify the area around the building.
Students work to beautify the area around the building.

As a part of K-15 Day, more than 40 Johnson students strove to saturate Knoxville with the love of Christ as they joined forces with the Water Angels.

Junior Liz Carson noted the large group of volunteers for the location.

“It gives Johnson a good name in the community,” she said.

The Water Angels represented one of over 36 sites that students could volunteer with in the historically largest Johnson K-15 Day.

What began as a Girl Scout mission project to provide water bottles to the homeless has developed into what is now the Water Angels.

Ministry Director Stephanie Mitchum explained, “We are a nonprofit Christian ministry for the homeless and poor in Knoxville. We have a ministry center and two recovery houses, one for men and one for women.”

IMG_0395Freshman Collin Dahlquist said, “There’s not really another place like this that is a hope house, a church, and a shelter.”

“It’s a really cool ministry. I love what they’re doing here,” said Bekah Ochs, freshman.

Students went out at 10:30am to begin painting, doing yard work, organizing, cleaning, and sorting donations. They kept in mind that their labor carried meaning to the organization, the people who will be benefited by their contributions, and to the furthering of God’s Kingdom.

Junior Audrey Jaeger said, “Most people are drawn to clean-cut places. Pulling weeds makes it homier and a more inviting atmosphere. It lets the people who run [the Water Angels] focus on people rather than keeping it clean.”

Many Johnson students have prior experience serving with the Water Angels.

“I did this a couple years ago with my church,” said freshman Caleb Bryant as he worked to clear weeds around the playground’s perimeter.

Tubs of clothing wait to be sorted by volunteers.
Tubs of clothing wait to be sorted by volunteers.

“My youth group always worked here. I’ve come multiple times and played basketball with the kids, [and] I’ve pulled weeds in this same spot before,” said Dahlquist.

Inside the building, more volunteer efforts were thriving as students painted and sorted clothing and kids’ items.

“I worked here several years ago and painted these cabinets,” said sophomore Josh Schoberg, who was busy painting walls in the same room. “I know it’s a nice ministry; good people, kind leadership.”

“I think it’s awesome what they’re doing here,” said junior Abby Markins.

Students empty a storage shed as they begin the sorting process.
Students empty a storage shed as they begin the sorting process.

The Water Angels strive to create a welcoming environment to the homeless and poor in Knoxville.

“I just really enjoy the place and the people we help. You can see the difference you’re making here,” said Carson Latham, junior.

“I think it’s a fantastic place people in the community feel welcome to walk in [to],” said junior Liz Carson.

Some may struggle with apprehensions with working for a homeless ministry.IMG_0409

“Don’t be scared of the homeless,” Latham said. “They’re some of the nicest people I’ve met and they’re thankful for everything they have.”

The Water Angels are always looking for volunteers throughout the year.

The ministry offers a variety of opportunities for students to obtain SALT hours. Activities range from worship services to Bible studies for kids clubs to meals.

“We have something going on every day of the week,” said Mitchum.

To find out more on how to get involved, visit thewaterangels.com.

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