The Ironman race caused traffic near the Indian Wells Tennis Garden even closing down businesses along the route including Southwest Church.
That didn’t slow the large congregation down. The church is using the shutdown as an opportunity to welcome the tri-athletes to La Quinta and serve.
“It’s what we call serve weekend,” Ricky Jenkins, pastor of Southwest Church, said. “We shut the doors of our church to get into our community and be the church.”
Serve weekend consists of hundreds of service projects, performed by 1,800 volunteers in 70 locations.
“It’s a great way to give back to the community,” Trey Ladner, a volunteer, said.
Ladner plays catcher for College of the Desert. Him, along with several of his teammates pitched in to paint the playground at Jackson Elementary School in Indio.
“Chris and I took the yellow and our friend Gonzo took the blue,” Bryce Osman said with a smile and paintbrush in hand. “We really got it knocked out and got it done.”
“We’re painting our four squares,” Jose Monano, principal of Jackson Elementary, said. “We have tetherball courts in university and college inspired colors so that when our students are playing on the playgrounds, those university colors and names are present on a daily basis.”
The official reveal to students is Monday morning but some students already got a sneak peak on Sunday afternoon.
“We’re bringing, on the one hand, thousands of people from around the world to compete but it’s also an opportunity for our people to really have, if you will, a tangible witness as to our faith, to be the hands and feet of Christ for schools, for non profit organizations for hungry families, you name it,” Jenkins said. “It’s an opportunity for the whole valley to win.”
Ironman and Serve Weekend both conclude on Sunday evening.