Vickie sat on her couch Friday morning and paged through a magazine, enjoying her status as queen for a day while a group of eighth-graders from Pantego Christian Academy deep-cleaned her house and tidied up her yard.“They are even cleaning the baseboards and washing the windows,” said the Dalworthington Gardens resident, who is a client of Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County. “I’ve been in awe.”On the inaugural PCA Gives Back Day, students, teachers, staffers and parents went in groups across the Arlington area and beyond to perform community service.The 411 high school and middle school students at the Arlington campus, along with adults, worked on 18 projects, organizers said, including sorting and bagging tons of donations for the North Texas Food Bank, sanding and painting red kettles for The Salvation Army, sprucing up several parks, running bingo and serving lunch at a senior center, doing laundry for the Arlington Life Shelter and working with developmentally disabled students at Green Oaks School’s Dollars and Sense Thrift and Gift store.Younger students at the Arlington campus collected school supplies and assembled about 150 backpacks for Catholic Charities Diocese of Fort Worth. Fourth- and fifth-graders also worked at Mission Arlington sorting and organizing donations.Students at the Mansfield campus built birthday boxes for Catholic Charities and worked at the UTA Community Garden, where they refurbished seven planting beds and reorganized the supply shed.“Many of the organizations were enthusiastic about how hard our students worked and that the PCA students accomplished more than any other student groups these organizations had worked with,” project coordinator Lynn Phillips said.Teachers, parents and students posted comments and pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during the day using #PCAGivesBack.Happy to helpVickie, who has lived in her duplex for six years, watched with delight as students and math teacher Jeni Del Rio polished and rearranged her living room display cabinet. The work at her home was done in partnership with Meals on Wheels’ Neighbor Helping Neighbor program.“When I was in school, we didn’t do community service,” she said.Students Abbi Turner and Katelyn Rousey said they were glad to help.“It’s a way for us to show everyone that we are Pantego Christian School and that we love where we live,” Turner said.Rousey said that it’s good to do local mission work in addition to going to other places.“We are trying to show that we can help others here and that [other people] can, too,” she said.
Patrick Walker, 682-232-4674 Twitter: @patrickmwalker1