Every year, Christmas seems to get here earlier and earlier, and for me that means a countdown to rolling out the Painted Bus. This bus belongs to my church and is used to shuttle children back and forth to Sunday school. But come Christmastime, it gets painted up, and used on Saturdays too, as we park it outside local stores and collect toys for the children of Luke Air Force Base. It’s a small gesture that goes a long way in honoring the families of our military heroes.
The first year I painted the windows on this bus, I wasn’t sure what kind of paint to use. I’ve always loved seeing painted storefront windows that change with the season, and figured there had to be a special kind of temporary paint. But when I experimented with regular acrylic paint, I found it does the job perfectly. It’s strong enough to withstand a little rain, yet it will come off with a good power washing or razor blade scraping. In this case, I was able to easily fix my typo. Did you catch it? Air Force is two words, not one!
That was an easy fix. But back to the paint… You can find different brands at any craft store, although I recommend American Folk. Trust me, I learned the hard way that cheaper brands don’t stand up to the elements as well. My painted snowmen melted after three days of non-stop rain and I had to do major touch-up painting before our annual toy drive!
This year I added our church’s logo and website to the rear window of the bus, because I figured so long as it’s going to be moving about the neighborhood, it may as well be a rolling billboard for us. I really am proud of my church. We’ve been meeting in a school gym for years, and we will finally be moving into our own building this coming spring! We also just changed names from Faith Harvest to New Foundation, which is appropriate on so many levels.
If you live in the Phoenix area, and happen to see this bus parked outside a store in the West Valley, go inside and buy a new toy, then help us fill up this Painted Bus with Christmas gifts for the children of Luke Air Force Base. Or think of ways to use your own talents to help a local charity. It’s always time well-spent when we can be a blessing to someone else.