A group of haggard college students exhausted from the school week, we departed Columbia on Friday evening. Excited for the weekend ahead, our group bonded in the car over 90's hits. After a decent amount of off-key singing, we arrived at our housing at Calvary Temple Church Our housing was amazing! We had access to a gym, basketball hoops, a pool table, air hockey, and foosball. A perfect scenario to unplug.
Our Saturday service began at a site very near our housing. The church was working with a project called "The Least of These", focused on providing assistance in foster or adoption situations. Often times, children must evacuate homes in an emergency situation, and they do not have many belongings with them. Our site contact, Amanda, told a story of a woman who was called to pick up a newborn one day. She had no items for the baby. At the site, we set up shelves and sorted bottles, toys, clothing, diapers, and other necessities for pick-up. This site will serve as a great first-step for future children heading to new homes.
Our second Saturday site was a transition home set up by On Time Ministry. The third of its kind, the site was designed as a rehabilitation facility for victims of sex trafficking. This particular site was at the very early stages of construction, so we scraped and mopped the floors in preparation for its finishing coat. Though this site involved some intense manual labor, we found it to be incredibly rewarding. Our eyes were opened to the fact that trafficking occurs even in rural Missouri, and people are actively working to stop it.
On Sunday, we did service for Mountain Grove Love Center Food Pantry. We did a food drive at the local Walmart for food items or cash donations. We set up tables outside of the store in the cold and talked to people as they passed by. By the end of this service, we were wishing for the abnormally warm weekends we've had in the past months. Luckily we had hand warmers and cocoa, and we collected an awesome amount of food and money for the site!
We were amazed by the kindness we experienced on our trip. Though we were providing a service, our contacts truly served us. Each contact took our names to recognize us to their organization members, and the food bank is even giving us a shoutout in their local paper! We learned a great deal from our sites, and we had awesome interactions with the people of Wright County.