It was an incredible sight to see firsthand just two weeks ago in Jefferson County, and now something similar is coming to Orange in July.
From June 21-24, approximately 150 students and church sponsors from across Texas volunteered in Nederland, Beaumont and Port Arthur to perform repairs and salvage work on homes affected by Hurricane Harvey and other disasters. .
This event was sponsored by BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery.
At the time, BOUNCE director David Scott said his organization and volunteers were delighted to be in the Netherlands partnering with Orange County Disaster Recovery to help with recovery efforts after the various storms.
“I am also happy that we have had a great response from participating student ministries who are here to serve,” he said on the eve of the event. “We hope not only to repair homes, but also to restore hope among the victims who have been affected.”
Students and sponsors were housed at First Baptist Church Nederland.
The daughter of a woman helped in Port Arthur summed up the impact perfectly.
“My mother has lived in this house since Harvey, so she lives like this – no floor, half the walls removed, almost like a shell of a house,” Julia Evers said.
“There was a lot of damage to the house, but also emotionally. It’s great to see these kids come and help just out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s very inspiring. They are good hard workers and they just don’t stop.
Help for Southeast Texas continues.
Armed with hammers and brushes, workers with a mission will descend on the Greater Orange as part of the United Methodist Action Reach-out Mission by Youth (UM ARMY).
Organizer Nathan Hodge said Orange Press the group will be in the area July 10-16.
According to Hodge, the group includes school-aged volunteers and accompanying adults who each pay $250 to spend a week helping those who cannot help themselves.
“They will be busy with wheelchair ramps, handrails, porch work, painting, minor roof repairs and more,” he said. “References for work to be completed are given to UM ARMY by state agencies, local churches, and community organizations.”
The effort has more than 4,000 participants making up UM ARMY’s 2022 summer in nearly 50 cities.
The goal is to help around 1,500 families in need.
Among the many honors earned by UM ARMY for its 44 years of service, according to Hodge, are a volunteer award from the Texas Department of Human Services and two runner-up Governor’s Awards.
While in Orange, participants will stay at First United Methodist Church.
They cook their own meals, bring their own tools, and buy their own materials for a week of work that begins at 5:30 a.m. for the breakfast crew members and ends with a time of worship each evening.
“The camp will include high school students who have completed ninth grade and adults from United Methodist churches in Texas in Nacogdoches, Lufkin, Cypress and Santa Fe,” Hodge said.
A document is always useful to those who need it most. A helping hand can sometimes be even more impactful for those in similar situations, as it acts as a springboard for growth.
Remove a person’s obstacle, then their path to lasting success is all the more clear.
It is evident that UM ARMY volunteers come from an effective community service infrastructure. We are very lucky that they have chosen our community to make an impact.
We wish them good luck in their endeavours.
Stephen Hemelt is the publisher of Orange Newsmedia, which produces Orange Leader and orangeleader.com. He can be contacted at [email protected]