MIDDLETOWN, Ohio - More than 500 volunteers are fanning out across Middletown, scraping, cementing and building for needy homeowners this week.
"It means a lot to me because I have leukemia and arthritis, and I have trouble going up and down off my porch," said Middletown resident Deneen Pruden.
Work Camp is a Christian-based mission made up in large measure by children. They come from various youth groups across the country, including Michigan, Wisconsin and New York.
"And that took us a 9 hour drive," said participant Courtney Wilcox.
The volunteers earn their own travel money with the help of their churches.
"It's been a blast," said Matt Hampson of Oak Creek, Wis.
While most of their peers are playing video games, swimming or out at the ballpark, the volunteers say this is where the real fun is.
"It's awesome meeting people from all around the country, coming together with one purpose and that's just to help people," said Hampson.
At 15 years old, Leeanne Partlow is an old hand at Camp Works. Middletown marks her fourth camp.
"Everyone should go to one just to try it, because it will change your life forever," said Partlow.
The group is making repairs on 40 homes. The volunteers work from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for Wednesday, when they spend the afternoon in a group activity.
Each group brings non-perishable foods, which are donated to Hope House Rescue Mission during the last evening of the camp.
The Group Cares Foundation and Supports to Encourage Low-income Families (SELF) are co-sponsoring this weeklong home repair blitz.
"These jobs are no easy task during the July heat, but each year our student campers and hundreds of local volunteers work hard to transform homes," said John Post, SELF Housing Coordinator. "In SELF's experience, Workcamp sites inspire a chain reaction; communities pitch in to help and able-bodied neighbors are motivated to make improvements to their homes as well."
Local funding for materials has been provided by the Middletown Community Foundation; the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Middletown Area; the Caresource Foundation; the Duke Energy Foundation; and the Butler Metropolitan Housing Authority.
For more information on Camp Works programs visit groupmissiontrips.com .
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