Mission Group Helps with Individual, Community Projects
By Keith Gushard
MEADVILLE — What initially started out as an overseas mission by one area church has evolved into a local, multi-church ministry outreach helping individuals and community facilities in the Meadville area.
“Love Your Neighbor II” Mission Trip Meadville is in full swing this week under the auspices of Cornerstone Church of God. Volunteers began working on Saturday and will carry out projects right through this Saturday, according to Jamey Huselton, pastor of Cornerstone Church of God. The week before Father’s Day has been set for a week for serving neighbors, he said.
The idea for “Love Your Neighbor” originated in the wake of Haiti’s destructive 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck that country in January 2010.
“We wanted to go to Haiti after the earthquake there and help, but there were safety concerns, financial concerns and too much red tape,” Huselton said.
“We started asking ourselves what could we do and that’s when we hit on the idea of helping our neighbors,” he continued. “So instead of maybe sending eight or 10 people overseas we have 45 to 50 people helping locally.”
Now in its second year, Cornerstone Church of God’s “Love Your Neighbor” program volunteers are joined this year by volunteers from two other Meadville churches — St. John’s Church of God and New Hope Community Church.
A total of about 50 volunteers are helping neighbors in need by providing things like tilled gardens, hauling unwanted items from homes, cutting trees to provide firewood for the winter, landscaping, light construction projects and more, all at no charge.
Cornerstone also has been doing work at Roche Park in Vernon Township and at the Meadville Area Recreation Complex.
“It’s about half and half,” Huselton said of doing projects for individuals and the community as a whole.
“We don’t have money for the materials because We have financial limitations, but we can supply the labor — including skilled labor — if a person or organization can supply the materials,” said Huselton.
Volunteers are doing work at Roche Park and helping the Crawford County Humane Society prepare a walking trail for dogs.
“It’s tremendous,” said David Stone, manager of Vernon Township. “It’s a help to the taxpayers of the township. These people are coming out and volunteering their time and we don’t have to use our crews or pay someone (to do it).”
“They’re landscaping the whole park, they’re putting up a new sign for the park, painting and doing other things at the park,” he said.
At the Meadville Area Recreation Complex, volunteers spent two days over the weekend replacing shingles on two picnic pavilion roofs. Plus, the volunteers are painting picnic tables, a comfort station and a storage shed, doing landscaping and other projects at the complex.
Huselton said there are volunteer opportunities both during the day and evening this week through Friday.
A typical day begins at 7:30 a.m. with breakfast and devotions at the church, Huselton said. Volunteers then pack their own lunches and head to various assigned serving sites around 8 a.m. Volunteers continue to serve in some cases until 8 at night, he said. Dinner is provided for volunteers at the church at 6 p.m. followed by an evening campfire, fellowship, and a recap of each days events.
There also are volunteer activities each day from 6:30 p.m. to dusk, he said.
A visit is also planned for Juniper Village, an assisted living center in Meadville, with a night of singing and sharing stories and each other’s company.
You can help
Those who wish to volunteer for “Love Your Neighbor II” this week are asked to contact Pastor Jamey Huselton at Cornerstone Church of God by calling 336-1889.
People also may go to the church each day this week. The church is located at 18320 Conneaut Lake Road in Vernon Township, between the Days Inn and Perkins. Work areas are posted on the exterior doors of the church if someone misses the departure of work parties.
This article republished by permission of The Meadville Tribune. Article originally published on June 11, 2013.