JOPLIN, Mo. — Some local college students are skipping class for the day to Serve Our City.

“These projects would not happen without the volunteers,” said Lindsay Gagnon, Empire Market Director.

“I’m not doing this for myself, I’m not doing this specifically for a degree, I’m doing it to better God’s Kingdom and to help others.” said Danny Foster, OCC Junior, shared his motivation.

It wasn’t your average Thursday on the Ozark Christian College campus. Usually busy parking lots stood empty, as classes were canceled for the college’s first-ever “Serve Our City” day.

“We want our students to be leaders in the world and in our country and service is at the heart of that, so this is just an opportunity that I think they will remember and carry with them for a long time.” said Damien Spikereit, OCC Executive Vice President.

More than 450 students and faculty went to more than 50 organizations in the Joplin area, painting garages, doing lawn work, and assisting nonprofit organizations like Souls Harbor in downtown Joplin.

“It’s like 4th street, a busy street you know, so whatever we can do to help make this place look nice for people going by making it a welcoming environment. We’re using rollers to paint the garage doors yellow, blue, and orange. Some people might say it’s hard work but I think it’s kinda fun,” said Foster.

Students also visited the “Joplin Empire Market,” giving the garage doors a fresh coat of new paint. Market directors tell us this is something they’ve been hoping to get done for almost two years now.

“Since 2021, I’ve been looking at these doors every day thinking, ‘I think it needs some extra work,’ so they’re literally checking off a year-long to-do checklist today,” said Gagnon.

“I’ve been here for about two years, so I’m around this community a lot, and it’s done good to kinda take me in, so it’s awesome to have the privilege to give back a little bit,” added Foster.