First Presbyterian Starts Fundraising for Next Habitat for Humanity Campaign

| No Comments

(photo courtesy of Julie Walton Shaver)

If you had the kids at First Presbyterian wash your car this weekend, you donated to a worthy cause. As Michael Draper of the First Presbyterian Chuch tells MM, their Habitat for Humanity fundraising and work that their youth group participates in each year is an amazing way that the church pays it forward to Americans who need help:

Long van rides. Sleeping on host church floors. Aching in places you didn't even know could hurt each summer when everyone else is at the beach.

The youth of the First Presbyterian Church of Metuchen think it's worth it.

That's why they, along with some extremely dedicated adult volunteers, are already planning and preparing for the church's 25th annual weeklong Habitat for Humanity mission trip next summer.

The purpose of these trips is to offer hands-on assistance to the building of homes for those in need. This can mean anything and everything from framing and sheet rocking to siding, painting and landscaping. This past year's trip to Roanoke, Virginia was the latest stop on a house-building tour de force that has taken the church group up to Vermont, out to Kentucky, down to North Carolina and everywhere in between.

One would think that giving a week of service during precious summer vacation would be tough to sell. Not so, according to Associate Pastor Arlo Tysinger. "They look forward to the trip all year and work hard through fundraising to make sure that it happens. Last year alone the students helped build 5 different homes for families in need. They work side by side with the homeowners.

The bonds that form between the homeowners and our students and chaperones are very powerful and something that we will all remember for the rest of our lives."

Adult volunteer and trip chaperone Kristine Walters agrees. "Whatever needs to be done to help a family move into their future home, these kids do it. People who say today's youth are self-absorbed only have to see our kids and they will see that is not the case. They make us proud every year."

Traveling via passenger van caravan, the group starts the normally long trips at the church Sunday morning at 6am. The next day, the group heads to various worksites. The typical workday starts with a 7am wakeup alarm. By shortly after 8am, the church groups are on various worksites and work through the summer heat until late in the afternoon. Evenings include worship, small group exercises and free time.

One day during the trip, work stops at noon and the rest of that day includes doing something fun and local to the area. The group returns the following Saturday in the evening, exhausted but proud of the work they've done and the difference they've made. "We all feel so connected and the true meaning of giving back feels fulfilled. Spending a week together as a group, living, eating and working along side each other builds relationships that are remembered for a lifetime." says Melissa Leardi, church youth participant.

The cost to travel, feed and house the church participants is large. The trips are paid for primarily through fundraising the youth do throughout the year. Fundraising efforts include candle sales, candy sales, a pancake breakfast, a ziti dinner and car washes.

If anyone is interested in making a donation towards the trip or having a student attend the trip in the future, please contact the church office at (732) 491-2300. 

(All photography courtesy of Julie Walton Shaver -

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.21-en