Methodists Auction Services To Benefit Appalachia

April 23, 1992|By Angela Gambill | Angela Gambill,Staff writer

A local church is not usually the place to go when your car needs anoil change.

This Sunday, however, the job is just one of those being auctioned off at the Severna Park United Methodist Church. The proceeds will help send 50 church members to Appalachia this summer, where they'll repair homes for needy people.

The auction, which begins at 6 p.m. in the church's Fellowship Hall, includes a catered meal, a grass-cutting, a day on the bay, the painting of a room and dozens of other selections.

This marks the church's 12th year with the Appalachia Service Project, said Lee Ferrell, minister of education and youth.

The Tennessee-based organization, affiliated with the United Methodist Church, locates homes and families needing help and matches them with volunteers.

"We've seena wide range of needs, and sometimes it's pretty shocking," said Ferrell.

The 50 adults, college students and teen-agers who plan to go on the trip will be divided into teams for jobs that range from repairing roofs to putting up walls to fixing rotted porches.

"In past years, we've done a little bit of everything," said Ferrell. "The people we're helping are so kind; a lot of times families will pitch in and help us. They just don't have the money to buy the materials."

The best part of the trip is the change in those who go, Ferrell said.

"It's very eye-opening. You never quite take as much for granted after you go. Teen-agers often hear about poverty but really don't see it first-hand. In this case, they can see and smell it and learn compassion for people whose circumstances are just different. Life has dealt (these people) a different hand -- that's the only difference we really see."

The trip costs the church about $10,000, some of which is paid for by volunteers, private donations and the church budget. The rest comes from fund-raisers such as the auction.

"We pay for gasoline, plus we buy all the building supplies ourselves," Ferrell explained.

Costs for room and board are minimal; the group sleeps on the floor at a church or school.

"There's a very heavy emphasis on no comfort," Ferrell said. "We make our own fun, but the kids know it's going to be hot and hard. They are there to help people.It's not a vacation."

In other years, the auction has raised about $3,000. Church members donate everything from handcrafted wreaths and dolls to vacation weekends.

"One year a condo weekend in the mountains went for $150," Ferrell said. "It's not a lot of money, but there are so many good things to buy, they add up." Those who purchasea service have a year to use or claim it, she said.

The auction is open to the public, said Ferrell.

"It's a worthy case. We chose the Appalachia Project because it's one of the few where youth actually get hands-on experience helping people," said Ferrell. "And it's in the country, a fairly safe setting, and is well-monitored by the project people."

"Those we help are wonderful people. They welcome us like family and they cry when we leave. They are very grateful for the help."

Those interested in helping with the Appalachia Projectshould call 987-4700.

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