Teens help those affected by Hurricane Florence, Matthew

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Mission Serve replaces a roof on a damaged home in Tabor City on 6/24/19. (Photo: Matt Bennett/WWAY)

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Plenty of people in our region are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Now some are getting relief, thanks to students willing to sacrifice part of their summer break to help others.

“Spreading the love of Christ in a practical way,” that’s this year’s slogan for Mission Serve. Mission Serve is an organization that brings together church youth groups from all over the country to help those in need.

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“These kids, not only do they give up a week of summer vacation to be here and sweat in the sun, and shower in a trailer or a nasty school bathroom, they pay to be here. Because they have a heart for it,” said Joseph Partin, an 18-year-old college chaperone with the organization.

With people all over Columbus County still dealing with the aftermath Hurricanes Florence and Matthew, Mission Serve decided to bring their efforts there, with nearly 300 students ranging from sixth grade to college.

“I’m just really grateful to help these others, and especially since it’s in North Carolina, we don’t think about it being around us but it really is,” said Lindsay Morris, an 18-year-old student from Raleigh.

Volunteer construction captains are there to help the students, and professional contractors make sure the work is done right. Many of these students have never even picked up a hammer.

“It’s kind of hard sometimes, because we’re not all experienced that much with construction work and roofs,” said Julia Harris, an 18-year-old student from Charleston. This is my first time on a roof, so it’s definitely challenging.”

On Monday, two groups with the organization began working on a home belonging to a Ms. Fisher. Her son Jonathan told us this work means the world to her.

“She’s had a roof leak, and when she uses the bathroom, she has an umbrella that she has to use when it’s raining,” Jonathan Fisher said.

The work is funded by the Columbus Baptist Association. Project specialist Alexis Friday says Mission Serve works with local churches to identify homeowners in need.

“My mom actually made me go on my first trip. And I really didn’t want to, and then once I got out there, I loved it and I’ve gone back ever since,” Friday said. “It’s just a really incredible experience.”

“It’s always a good time, and it’s always tough. But we’re out here to help people who have been hurting, and to spread the love of Christ in a practical way,” said Partin.

The students say besides learning construction and people skills, they form friendships that last for years to come.