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Young people do repair work for those in need

July 12, 2005|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA.

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

Sweating beneath a blazing sun Monday afternoon, Sarah Leland, Lindsay Conrad and Michelle Negley clawed at the crumbling shingles atop the Fayetteville, Pa., home of Charles and Mary Jane Carbaugh, a job for which each was willing to pay a price.

"It gives me satisfaction knowing I'm helping people less fortunate, and it's fun. Why not pay money?" said Conrad, a 15-year-old from Waynesboro, Pa.

"They pay $150 apiece to sleep on the floor and work in 90-plus-degree weather," said Tim Moran, director of the Chambersburg Project. This week, approximately 115 youths assisted by 75 volunteer adults are taking part in the project, making renovations to the homes of the needy, handicapped and elderly, he said.

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"It's a workout," said Dustin Geyer, 14, of Chambersburg, as he paused from scraping off old shingles with a shovel. "If it's for a good cause, then I don't care."

"We got in a rut. Charlie got sick and couldn't work," Mary Jane Carbaugh said.

The couple could not afford to pay a contractor and their insurance company dropped their homeowner's insurance because of the roof's condition.

"We needed a roof and we contacted them, and they said 'sure,'" she said of Chambersburg Project Inc., now in its eighth year.

"The past three years, I've done roofs," said 17-year-old Matt Smith of Roaring Springs, Pa., a Chambersburg Project veteran of five years.

On Monday, Moran said 17 crews were at work sites around the county, painting, repairing and renovating homes.

"They've done work for me before. This is about the fifth year," Carolyn Souder said as a crew of 10 young people scraped the paint off her Liberty Street home in Chambersburg and applied a new coat. She said the work of the Chambersburg Project makes it possible for her to remain in her home.

"I have a very low, limited income. I would not be able to afford the maintenance," Souder said.

"It's a good group because they're Christian young people from the different churches in the area," she said. "That's what makes me feel comfortable, too. They're trustworthy."

"The hope is they can see God's light through the work we're doing," said Rory McAllister, 14, of Hagerstown. He attends Covenant Life Church, but worked with the youth group at Crossroads Church to raise the money to attend the work camp.

Moran said the Chambersburg Project worked with about 14 churches to recruit volunteers for this week's work camp. The youngest is 11 and the oldest is 78. One young woman came from California to work with her college roommate for a few days, he said.

About $3,000 worth of building materials was donated for the work camp, but Moran said the nonprofit organization will spend another $16,000 or more for materials on about 50 projects during the week.

Each night, the volunteers come back to Chambersburg Area Middle School to wash up, have dinner and participate in worship services before bedding down for the night, Moran said.

"It's my first year at the Chambersburg Project, but I've done work camps before," said Craig Schuler, youth pastor at Otterbein Church and Ministry Center in Waynesboro. Schuler said nine young people from the church were taking part in the camp and the church's Youth Praise Team will be singing at night during worship services.

A group from the church soon will go to West Virginia for another work camp, Schuler said.

"We've experienced the benefit of a relationship with God" and the work camp is a fitting way to pass that experience along, he said.

"A lot of times Christians are known for what they are against. This is a good way to show what we're for," Schuler said.

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