PORTAGE Porter County churches will continue their involvement in a nationwide philanthropic event this year with more churches joining in giving.
ShareFest, a day of serving the community, will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 21. Individuals representing more than 35 churches from Valparaiso, Portage and Chesterton will collect and distribute goods and perform volunteer service for area organizations.
"This year we've included Chesterton and Portage and we've increased the number of churches involved," said Kim Wampler, director of ShareFest Portage 2006. More communities involved means more help for those in need, organizers said.
Each church performs a separate project during the day of sharing.
"One team is doing a neighborhood distribution of toilet paper, laundry soap and diapers for the community since they can't get these items with food stamps," said Wampler. "Another team will be at Woodland Park and Countryside Park doing cleanup. We'll be at the Portage Adult Education building doing some carpentry. And some will spend the day with kids from the South Haven Boys & Girls Club playing indoor and outdoor games."
ShareFest began in 1999 by a group of churches in Central Arkansas and quickly spread nationwide. ShareFest started in Porter County in 2004 with 22 churches involved in 11 different projects in Valparaiso.
Last year, Wampler said that Portage churches "shadowed" the Valparaiso organizers to learn about the event. This year, they are participating along with churches in Chesterton and Porter.
A blood drive in Valparaiso and Portage also is part of the event, organized by the Red Cross. Any resident can give to the blood drive, or donate items for local food pantries. Donations of boots or used coats for distribution also are encouraged. Residents are invited to volunteer service for the 35 projects around the county. Visit www.sharefestpc.org for more information. There is no cost to participate.