Laura Strouse, bottom, holds Kaitlynn Wickersham, 6, as they sing along to Christian praise songs at the Community Vacation Bible School at Bicentennial Park on Monday. Debbie Anderson, top, of First Baptist Church also spoke to the crowd.

The Community VBS, which includes volunteers from nine area churches, will continue today and Thursday from 6 to 8:15 p.m. at Bicentennial Park. This year's attendance has averaged 300 students as well as about 80 youngsters in the preschool VBS at Madison Presbyterian Church.

The Community VBS includes praise songs and lessons centered on the work of Jesus Christ.

The participants have also worked on community service projects throughout the week in accordance with Jesus' teaching that He came to serve others, not to be served.

Thursday's service project will be Food Pantry Night, when participants collect canned food and toiletry items. Anyone can drop off items at Bicentennial Park from 5 to 6:30 p.m., or at the future Clearinghouse food pantry at West and Second streets from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

(Staff photos by Ken Ritchie/