A group of youth and adults from Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church worked to help low-income families repair their homes on a mission trip this summer to Morgan County Tenn. The trip, sponsored by the Appalachia Service Project, was the 12th annual mission trip for the church.
"I really saw America in a way that you can't see in Westport. Poverty isn't just about being dirt poor ¦ there are many forms of it," said Alex Uman, a junior at Staples High School. "Morgan County is a completely different world than Westport."
Church youth minister Kimberly Andrews organized and led the trip for 16 high schoolers and eight adults. She's been on all 12 mission trips by the local church group, including trips to the Dominican Republic, Mexico and post-Katrina Mississippi. Andrews praised the hard work of the mission participants, especially the teen volunteers.
"If churches and synagogues around the country have kids like this, the world is in good hands," she said. "This next generation is a generation of volunteers."
In the Tennessee county where the Westport contingent worked, 2 percent of the population lives below the poverty line and 6 percent of high school graduates go to college, according to information supplied by Christ & Holy Trinity.
The Westport group replaced a roof, removed and replaced insulation, replaced damaged rafters, hung drywall, painted several rooms, laid flooring and dug a drainage ditch to prevent a home from flooding, among other tasks, for four families in the Appalachia region.