NEWTON TWP. — Countryside Youth Ministries, the youth fellowship of Countryside Community Church, will embark on a mission trip to Mechanicsburg from July 30-Aug. 1.
Adults Bob and Lois Doble, Wendy and Ken Molitoris, Kelly Cardone, Scott Miller and Luke Berardis and 15 youths, Caleb and Jordan Molitoris, Will and Aden Cardone, Janie Kircher, Kirsten Hardy, Emilee and Suzie Griggs, Curt Murphy, Becca and Ashlynn Miller, Lily Dennebaum, Becky Abdo, Tommy Tamberelli and Bryan Felter will prepare emergency kits inside a missions warehouse called Mission Central.
“We are always grateful when youth choose to spend time volunteering to help others,” said Robert Visscher, executive director of Mission Central. “Volunteers are vital to the work of Mission Central. Each year we host over 8,000 volunteers. Mission Central annually ships between $7 million and $10 million worth of relief and disaster response materials locally, nationally and internationally. Last year 56 percent of the work done by Mission Central and its partners remained in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“The groups from Countryside will be doing a variety of tasks from bagging donated shoes to establish micro-businesses in underdeveloped countries; verifying various relief kits such as health kits, school kits, cleaning buckets; sorting general inventory; cleaning; or yard maintenance,” Visscher added.
The emergency packets include birth kits, layette kits which provide basic needs to newborns, school kits, cleaning kits and health kits and will be sent to places in need.
“Many of the kits have to meet certain requirements to make it through customs in some countries so we help to make sure they meet these requirements,” said associate pastor Scott Miller. “We also make sure the kits have everything they’re supposed to have and are equal in what they have in them. In the past, we have also helped label cans of food so that they can be distributed locally.”
Mission Central is a missions warehouse for the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church and is part of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. According to Mission Central’s website, the warehouse sends medical supplies, food and clothing to people all over the world, whether their homes have been destroyed by floods or hurricanes, they are recovering from an illness or just going through a rough time.
Countryside Youth Ministries went to Mission Central two years ago and the youth enjoyed it.
“It’s a great time to get to know members of your church family that you may never had the chance to talk to,” said youth member Becky Abdo. “And it’s also a fun experience overall.”
The members go on a mission trip each summer. Last year, they went with a group called Youthworks to Union Beach, New Jersey to help with hurricane cleanup. Countryside Youth Ministries was formed three years ago and has grown to about 20 members.
The members will share their mission trip experience to church members during Countryside’s worship service on Aug. 9.
“I like mission trips because I think it is always important to teach children and youth the importance of helping others,” said Miller.
“Mission Central has five full-time employees, two part-time employees, an operating budget around $500,000 with an output reaching $7-10 million that is around a 1,400 percent return on investment,” said Visscher. “We could not do what we do without dedicated volunteers such as the youth group from Countryside Community Church.”