As the rising price of gas — and, it seems, everything else — hits people hard, Springway Baptist Church is doing something to help.
About a month ago, the church decided to offer anyone a ride to church in the church van, helping members save their own fuel.
“One of the members came up with it and it seemed like a good ministry, and with gas so high we thought we could help out some people,” said the Rev. Ricky Thrasher, who is currently the interim pastor at Springway Baptist.
So, church member Julius Collins decided to volunteer his time to pick up folks with the church van.
“Well, all the members of the church decided on to do it,” said Collins, a longtime Gainesville resident who has been at Springway for six years. “We had the van, and why not use it instead of leaving it parked?
“So some of the members live on that road that I’m going to. These kids said they would go to church if they have a way, so we come out here and pick them up.”
Collins, just one of the van drivers, said high fuel prices are affecting some of the church members.
“It’s hitting some of them hard and we just try to be conservative,” he said. “We run this van and every time it’s cranked it is put to good use.”
Julius’ son Trent Collins is one of the children who rides along in the van. He said a lot of the kids they pick up are his friends from school and attend church youth group.
“We usually have about 15 to 20 kids in youth group,” said Trent Collins, a sixth-grader at East Hall Middle.
Olivia Green, who started her first day at East Hall High School on Thursday, said she is happy someone will come and pick her up for church.
“I am now, because we have five kids that live in my house and usually they want to come to church,” said Green, who has been attending youth activities and church at Springway for about two years.
Julius Collins added that if children, or anyone, wants a ride to church, he is on call.
“We’ve got one spot where we get about six or seven kids on Wednesdays,” he said. “They have a real good time, a lot of fun. They do a lot of singing; what I see is a good group of kids.”
Collins said it’s all just part of the ministry Springway offers — which could be picking up members in order to save on gas or driving to Kentucky to donate food and clothing.
“It’s a giving church and we do a lot of missions in Kentucky,” he said. “When we go to Kentucky we do a Bible school and we always take a tractor-trailer full of food.”