Church youth group opts to help community

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 17, 2010

NATCHEZ — It can be hard for students to find productive things to do during the summer months.

But at least one local youth group is taking this week to go out and find things to do that benefit other people.

This week is Missions Fest for the Jefferson Street United Methodist Church youth group, a week dedicated to what youth group member Rachel Benoit characterized as a time the group takes to help the local community out through service projects.

The week kicked off Sunday with a lesson about service and random acts of kindness, a lesson Matthew Golden said is reinforced in little ways every day.

“They ask us if we have done anything special for anybody without taking any credit for it,” he said.

And while the youth group members are looking for ways to show random acts of kindness as individuals, they have corporately endeavored to show acts of kindness to the community at large.

Part of the group painted bleachers at the Boy’s and Girls Club.

Others have volunteered at the latest Habitat for Humanity House project on Smith Street, and plans are in motion to head to the Natchez City Cemetery later this week and clean up there.

“Our Bible verses (for the week) had to do with helping others,” Chesney Petkovsek said. “It feels good to help others.”

Youth group coordinator John Hudson said the volunteer work begins every day at 5:30 p.m., allowing students the opportunity to work summer jobs, participate in athletic programs and in general avoid the worst heat of the day.

Even though much of the week’s volunteer opportunities involve hard work, that doesn’t mean they can’t mix a little fun in, too.

Tuesday night the group had a scavenger hunt for canned food items.

“We rode around to see who could collect the most food,” Benoit said. “It had a system of points for the food, and whoever had the most points won.”

The cans were donated to the Stewpot, and part of Wednesday night’s volunteering was to head over there and organize all of those cans.

“This week has actually been pretty fun, because summer has been boring so far,” group member Sarah Garrity said.