'Somebody cares': Volunteers fix up house Church group helps in Western Md. for third year NORTH LAUREL/SAVAGE

August 20, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

For 60 of her 66 years, Evelyn Wright has lived in the same house in Allegany County.

But she scarcely recognizes her home since six members of Savage United Methodist Church spent a week sprucing it up.

"They were just wonderful; they really made my house look beautiful," said Miss Wright, who lives in Eckhart. "It looks like a new house; it's not the same place."

The group from Savage United Methodist traveled the three hours to Allegany County the first week in August for their third year at Camp Hope, a Christian Appalachian work camp for youth and adults.

A Frostburg-based nonprofit group, Camp Hope organizes church volunteers every summer to upgrade the homes of needy families in Allegany County.

The organization brings together more than 300 teen-agers and adults from churches in the Baltimore-Washington area to repair about 50 homes each summer.

The six-member group from Savage United Methodist consisted of adults Elizabeth Ogden, Tom Hoffman and Fred Wehland, and teen-agers Shawn Vollmerhausen, J. J. Hartner and John Trent.

It was Ms. Ogden's third excursion to Allegany County as a Camp Hope worker.

"It's a chance to give kids the opportunity to see they can be a ministry and a chance to get them out of Sunday school and into the world," Ms. Ogden said.

"And the homeowners see that somebody cares about them and is willing to spend time to get to know them."

During the weeklong project, the church groups stay at a dormitory on the Frostburg State University campus. The groups hold fund-raisers in advance to pay dormitory and materials fees for the week.

Savage United Methodist raised $1,500 from a spaghetti dinner, carwashes and church donations, Ms. Ogden said.

Mornings at Camp Hope began with a 7 a.m. devotional service, followed by breakfast at the Frostburg McDonald's. Then it was off to the work site.

Miss Wright's house hadn't been painted in 15 years, so the team scraped and primed it before applying a new coat of paint.

The crew from Savage also installed new gutters and downspouts. When a leak was discovered in the back porch roof, the workers replaced the roof.

After each day's work, the volunteers were served dinners at local churches that had offered to feed the Camp Hope workers. After dinner, the groups attended worship services in the host church's sanctuary.

The Savage United Methodist teens who fixed up Miss Wright's house said it was hard work, but all agreed it was worth the effort.

"It was real fun; you go out and help people who are less fortunate and it makes you feel good about yourself," said Shawn, 15.

John, 16, was in the church's Camp Hope group last year and looks forward to doing it again.

"I liked helping out the people," John said. "Miss Wright made us all little crosses, and that really showed her appreciation after we were done."

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