Church sends 68 volunteers to Rockford

Fifty high school students with 18 adult supervisors will arrive in Rockford Friday, June 25, looking for meaningful mission work. They are flying in from The Presbyterian Church in Westfield, N.J., and this is their 10th year of sending work crews around the United States.

They will be working at Rockford Urban Ministries’ work camp program. Executive Director Stanley Campbell says the group, “the largest we’ve ever hosted,” will help Rockford New Hope restore the Victorian house at 728 Kishwaukee St. for affordable housing for a large family.

Rev. Tina McCormick, associate pastor from Westfield, says that they have particular experience in construction projects, having worked on Habitat for Humanity in Boston and Appalachia, and in foreign mission fields such as Mexico and Santo Domingo. Rev. McCormick chose Rockford because she was impressed with how churches work with nonprofits in the city.

“The group is so large, we have to break it into four separate groups,” said Campbell. Besides working at the Kishwaukee house, one group will help Rockford Habitat for Humanity work at their sites along Eighth Street. Another will paint and rehab windows at the Friends House, 326 N. Avon St. The final group will take on odd jobs supplied by RAMP, the Rockford Rescue Mission, the Natural Land Institute and others.

Rockford Urban Ministries has hosted work crews since 1997. This summer, it will host six crews besides the group from New Jersey. “We are seeking more work from the area’s nonprofits,” added Campbell. “We want to make sure we keep our work crews busy. Anyone with ideas for work can call Rockford Urban Ministries at 964-7111. There still are time slots available throughout the summer, so if work crews would like to volunteer, they are more than welcome.”

Besides New Jersey, work crews will be coming from Shoreview, Minn.; Tekamah, Neb.; Defiance, Ohio; and Newberry, Mich., as well as from northern Illinois congregations.

For more information, call RUM at (815) 964-7111.

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