Sometimes, all it takes is a helping hand for needy families to find their footing.
Last week, one South Carolina-based ministry extended its hand by repairing the homes of three families in North Augusta’s first Salkehatchie Summer Service camp.
With a stable of 24 youth and eight adult workers, the ministry spread across North Augusta to repair the homes, identified by the United Way of Aiken County. The workers called Grace United Methodist Church home for the week as they worked to repair roofs, fix plumbing and paint interior walls.
“The goal is to serve God by helping the people in need,” said Bobby Oliver, the camp’s co-director. “These are people who wouldn’t be able to pay for the repairs on their own.”
The Rev. Jim Dennis Jr., the senior minister at Grace United Methodist, said funding for the program comes mostly from the camp’s fees. The South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church helps pay the fee, which then goes toward building materials.
Youth workers included high school and college-age students and most came from different parts of South Carolina, Dennis said.
“Many of them haven’t even been to North Augusta before,” he said.
The camp is one of more than 50 that the Salkehatchie Summer Service puts on across South Carolina.
Workers arrived in North Augusta on July 6 for worship sessions and tours of the homes.
The campers then broke into teams, each selecting a mascot and cheer to use throughout the week, Oliver said.
Through Friday, campers worked on the homes simultaneously from 7 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m., weather permitting.
Dennis, who has participated in the camp at other South Carolina churches, said he wanted to bring it to North Augusta as a way for the church to bond with its community. This year marked Dennis’ fifth Salkehatchie Summer Service camp.
“I really do want the church to be more involved,” he said. “Knowing that someone can stay dry when it rains - it makes me feel good.”
Dennis hopes to host the camp again next year.