Shrewsbury – Instead of spending the first week of summer vacation sleeping late or going to the beach, 13 high school youth and eight adults from the First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury spent six days in Maine working with Mission at the Eastward (MATE) Housing Ministries. Some participants had been on previous mission trips and for others, this was the first time. This was the second year the group went to Farmington to share their talents with people, who “without assistance with labor and/or materials, would be unable to make needed repairs and maintenance to their homes.” MATE provides materials to homeowners in need and groups like those from First Congregational Church work for a week in the summer to provide repairs for local families who need assistance.
Among other projects, the group worked on siding the home of a family who had to rebuild after a fire, placed skirting around a trailer, built a railing around a deck, painted a house, and cleaned out a basement and attic. Every evening they prepared dinner together, shared stories and songs around a campfire, played games and prayed for each other and those they were providing aid to. The group was supported by the members of their church who contributed to their fundraisers and donated cash, food, and supplies. In addition, Hammond Lumber of Farmington, Maine, generously donated a hat and t-shirt to the volunteers for their service work to the community.
The high school youth group meets most Sunday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. from September to May. They play games, plan their projects, share experiences, and eat ice cream. Any high school youth is welcome to join.