Lending a helping hand

SubmittedMembers of the United Methodist Action Reach-out Mission by Youth organization have been busy this week in Huntsville, building wheelchair ramps for needy citizens. 

HUNTSVILLE — Texas missionary youth group, United Methodist Reach Out Mission by Youth, is returning to Huntsville for one week to complete nine community projects for those in need.

Action Reach-out Mission by Youth is a non-profit organization based out of College Station that connects church youth volunteer camps to communities in need. Through the program, 50 high school-aged kids from three Houston-area churches arrived Sunday and are being hosted by Huntsville FUMC and Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church until their departure on Saturday.

“We volunteered to be a host church because we know that there’s a desperate need in the community, so UMARMY sent this group of kids to Huntsville,” said Jason Bass, director of contemporary worship and technology at Huntsville FUMC.

“Honestly, we could do two camps a year and we’d still have projects every time,” Pearland FUMC director John McClure added. “Just because of the amount of people that really need the help, whether it be construction projects or small things like painting.”

In years past, the group has brought 80 volunteers to serve the area through the camp, however, in a post-COVID world, McClure notes that people are still focused on staying safe and are easing their way back out into the community.

Working in teams of six, the missionary group will tackle large-scale endeavors from scraping and repainting a complete church exterior, to building wheelchair ramps measuring over 50 feet-long with two to three turns in them, as well as re-roofing and decking a porch. However, small scale home repairs and ramp builds will be completed as well for those who need help.

All of the projects will be completed within a five mile radius from Huntsville FUMC, with the exclusion of one project being completed at a church in Shiro. Those who will benefit from the UMARMY camp have been identified as being in need through the Sam Houston State University Wesley Foundation and Good Shepherd Mission. The projects are free to those they serve and all costs are covered by the volunteers who pay $275 per-person to attend the camp.

This is not the first time that UMARMY has served Huntsville, and is certainly not the last. McClure attributes their heart to continue to service the area to the support of Huntsville’s FUMC, who hosts and feeds the missionaries for free while welcoming them into their evening worship service to better connect with the community.

“They are phenomenal, they really want to affect the community in a positive way and will do everything they can to help their community. That’s why I think they continue to be great hosts and also help us in any way that they possibly can,” McClure said. “Also, really the city of Huntsville has been great, they donated a roll off dumpster for us and that is just one of the biggest gifts that we can possibly have, because at a time where lumber costs so much money right now, every penny is important and it’s a true blessing to have a town that will welcome us like this. I hope we can come back every year, it’s that awesome.”

“This town continues to open up its hearts to us, its doors and letting us do this work and we really appreciate it,” McClure added.

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