In This Weeks Edition: 07-14-2010

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Salk Summer Service Program at TUMC

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

The Salkehatchie Summer Service is holding its annual camp Saturday July 10th thru Saturday July 17th at Trinity United Methodist Church in Bamberg. Volunteers camp out at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Bamberg and different churches and organizations take turns feeding them.

Campers begin each day with breakfast at 6 a.m. by the Trinity UMC Men's club and then it’s off to the worksite. There are six different sites throughout Bamberg County. Each site is assigned adult leaders and a crew of volunteers to complete work ranging from roofing, plumbing, and flooring to painting and redecorating with necessary items like linens and bedding.

As a former resident of Denmark and now living in Bamberg, Virginia Bannister has had her name on the list for 10 years to get repairs done to her home. This week her prayers were answered as a crew from the Salkehatchie Summer Service Program showed up at her house on 557 Calhoun Street in Bamberg to begin some badly needed repair work and Ms. Bannister said she could not be more pleased.

“This means a whole lot,” Bannister said Monday afternoon, as the group composed of volunteers from all over the state with the United Methodist Church Conference, were busy at work in the 90 degree plus heat. Bannister noted that her house had been on the repair list for 10 years when she lived in Denmark before she moved back to Bamberg and got on the list again last month.

As pleasing as it is for the many people serviced by the Salkehatchie Summer Service Program, the reward is even greater for the volunteers who pay $200 per summer to participate in the program and get a chance to serve others.

“It’s a life changing experience,” said Sarah Housand from Moncks Corners, a rising sophomore this fall at Berkley High School. “It opened my eyes to another world to see what I can do to help other people,” Housand added.

“I’ve had a great time experiencing new things this summer,” said Lauren Hicks, who is also a rising sophomore at Berkley High School.

“The experience is rewarding because you get to help other people and God blesses people that help other people,” said Pierre James from Goose Creek and a student at Trident Technical College.

Kathy Collier, 41, said that she started with the Salkehatchie Summer Service Program when she was 19 and this is her way of giving something back to God. “God has not blessed me with children,” Collier said. “So this is a way for me to give back to God. So I take my teenagers to do Salkehatchie every year,” Collier added.

According to their website the Salkehatchie Summer Service Program is a pioneering servant ministry at selected sites in South Carolina. Participants including high school (Must Be 14) and college age youth, adult community leaders and persons of different cultures who are engaged in upgrading housing and motivating community cooperative efforts by helping people to help themselves. Salkehatchie Summer Service is a program of the South Carolina Conference Board of Global Ministries. The program is not an 8 to 5 job. “The whole week, we serve, grow, learn and share together,” according to the program’s website.