ServeFest returns to Keizer Aug. 28

Lorenzo Perales gives a haircut to Jonah Gandy, during the 2013 ServeFest. The annual event returns Sunday, Sept. 28 at Keizer Civic Center.
(KEIZERTIMES file/Eric A. Howald)

ServeFest is a free annual event coordinated by Lakepoint Community Church since 2006 and held at the Keizer Community Center, in which local barbers, medical professionals and members of the congregation and community donate their time and skills to help those in need.  Lakepoint is bringing ServeFest back to Keizer after a two-year hiatus due mostly to COVID and the church not having a permanent home during that time.

It all began when Lakepoint was still meeting at McNary High School, and the church’s two pastors were looking for ways to get their congregation out into the community to serve.

“Myself and the senior pastor at the time decided the best way was to hold an event where goods and services could be offered to people free of charge,” said Lakepoint’s current Senior Pastor Rachel Taylor. “The idea is to meet practical needs for people.”

Taylor said the event has evolved quite a lot over the years, as it grew in size and attendance.  Medical professionals were found who were willing to conduct free wellness checks, barbers and hairdressers would come out each year and set up, and food and clothing were collected throughout the year to give away at each event.  The one thing that hasn’t changed, she said, was that attendance was nearly always much higher than anticipated.

“It seemed to grow a lot each year,” she said. “The first time we held ServeFest, we expected about 400 people, and more than 1,500 showed up. We were seeing 4,000 or more at our most recent ones.”

Then COVID struck, and over the next two years, the church’s congregation shrank by half.  They didn’t have the numbers to manage the logistics involved, and observing all the safety protocols at a public event was problematic.

Since Aug. 7, Lakepoint has been sharing space with another Foursquare church in Salem, and Taylor said they were beginning to grow once again.  She said she’s thrilled to be able to bring ServeFest back.

“It’s really who we are – this is what we do,” she said. “Other congregations will go to church on that Sunday, but we will go out there and ‘be the church.’ We’re so excited to get to do this again.”

ServeFest is free to all and no registration is necessary.  It will be held Sunday, Aug. 28 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Keizer Community Center.