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Busy weekend kicks off a special year of service and outreach in Lane County

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EUGENE — Late last month, local non-profit One Hope Lane County held its seventh annual Project Hope initiative to assist local schools. But this time it had an additional purpose —  to kick off a yearlong special emphasis in the county spearheaded by Portland-based evangelist Andrew Palau.

Project Hope, in partnership with four local school districts, is a two-day, annual outreach designed to serve schools and local families before the new school year begins.

Project Hope involved a total 54 churches and ministries and more than 40 businesses and organizations. On Saturday, Aug/ 26, 43 local churches and ministries partnered with dozens of  neighborhood schools to prepare the facility and grounds before the school year begins. On Sunday, Aug. 27, One Hope hosted their Kids’ Fair, providing new backpacks, socks and shoes, school supplies, and free haircuts to more than 3,000 local students. The Kids’ Fair Giveaway involved 40 congregations and more than 40 businesses and organizations.

This year, CityFest with Andrew Palau partnered with Project Hope, marking the impactful weekend as the launch of their CityServe initiative.

CityServe, a component of the regionwide CityFest campaign, is a sustainable movement involving nearly 70 local congregations that includes ongoing campaigns for support and awareness and several efforts to mobilize volunteers to serve critical community needs. In Lane County, CityServe will consist of 11 months of serving the region through school partnerships, caring for vulnerable children and their families, and addressing affordable housing issues.

Steve Buss, director of One Hope Lane County, is in full support of partnership with CityFest and Andrew Palau, knowing from experience the way the Palau team brings hope and sustainable change to communities.

“Because I’ve spoken with leaders in other communities that have partnered with the Palau team, and because there is lasting impact in the places they’ve served, I am full of faith that our partnership with CityFest is a door of opportunity for us,” Buss said.

In the past seven years of Project Hope, One Hope has served between 35 to 40 schools annually and close to 19,000 students with the involvement of 75 local churches, ministries and businesses. Annually, Pro-ject Hope involves 1,300 volunteers committing 6,000 hours. These statistics continue to grow each year.

Andrew Palau, University of Oregon Class of 1989 alumnus and son of famed author and world evangelist Luis Palau, has been an instrumental leader with the Luis Palau Association for more than 20 years, using his own story of rebellion and redemption to share the Good News of the gospel to more than 20 nations on five continents.

“It’s exciting and almost surreal to be invited back to Eugene in this way, to the place where such a huge part of my story began,” Palau said. “I’ve been so impressed by the way churches come together to serve the city here in Eugene and Springfield. Project Hope is just one expression of how impactful unity can be,”

CityFest with Andrew Palau is set to culminate in a massive, free, family festival to be held at PK Park next summer. Patterned after similiar festivals held by the Palau team, the Eugene event will include Grammy-winning musicians, family activities, professional action sports and a message of hope from Andrew Palau.

To learn more about CityFest and CityServe initiative, or more about Project Hope, visit www.cityfest.org, or follow CityFest on social media at @GoCityFest.