Middle school youth from St. Mark’s Lutheran Church participated in three days of mission in Charlotte. We spent our first day serving St. Mark’s by taking on projects around the church building. Several high school youth joined us as we cleaned the kitchen, pulled weeds in the playground, organized the craft closet, disinfected the toys in the nursery, and cleaning various windows around the building. Some of these tasks were sponsored by congregation members at our May Rent-a-Youth Auction.
Our second day was spent volunteering at Second Harvest Food Bank and at Moore Place. We ended up working alongside a youth from a South Carolina church who were serving in Charlotte for the week. After a training orientation, we sorted food into piles, separating the good from the unusable as we went along. We sorted through (if I heard correctly) about 7,500 pounds of food in about two hours.
After lunch back at St. Mark’s, we went over to Moore Place. Moore Place is a permanent home for 85 chronically homeless Charlotteans, each one having at least one disability. Katie, our liaison at Moore Place, told us that one of their goals is to have their residents meet folks from the larger community. Moore Place does not want to wall off their residents, but instead they hope to make them a part of the community. With that goal in mind, we engaged in one of the residents’ favorite pastimes: bingo. We also shared a snack with the residents as we played, and our youth helped several of the players. The prizes were things that they could use in their apartments like laundry detergent, dish soap, cleaning supplies, and we threw in some Little Debbie snacks too.
After bingo, our youth got into a conversation with a man named Sam. Sam was really interested in where our kids went to school and what their interests were. After about 10 minutes of conversation, Sam invited us up to see his apartment, and after checking with Katie that it was OK, we went to check it out. The residents at Moore Place have simple apartments that include a small kitchen, a small living room area, a small bedroom area, and a bathroom. Sam was very proud of his apartment, and rightly so. He had it decorated very nicely, and you could tell he took care to keep it tidy. He said that he loved his apartment and told us about the television stations he liked to watch (he is a big classic movie fan).