KENTUCKY, USA — In our world where everything seems to be full of unexpected anger and violence, giving back to others is still alive and well.
For more than three decades, college students from across the country have given up their spring break heading to the mountains of eastern Kentucky to help others with the Christian Appalachian Project.
“I haven’t been to Appalachia – been to Kentucky, but it was in the north around Louisville,” Stephen Butler, a University of Scranton-Pennsylvania student said.
Michigan State student Skitter McConkie said she heard about the community and culture in Kentucky and it led her to lend a hand.
They are focuses on the home of an elderly couple, the roof wasn’t in the best condition and needed to come off.
“Swinging the sledge hammer and working the crow bars – quite the experience and I’d say so far, that was my favorite part watching the large chunks of the chimney fall to the ground,” Butler said.
Ken Stuber of Louisville has led the home repair project for the group the entire time.
“At the end of the week, they can turn around and say ‘hey, we put that roof on or I built that porch, made these steps and put that siding on’ – plus the bond the students have together,” he explained.
CAP is active in 17 eastern Kentucky counties with more than 12,000 people and families have benefited from its year-round service and the spring breakers.
“They could be doing anything – be at the beach or at home relaxing with their family, but they choose to be here serving our families,” Jamie Conley, a program representative, said.
Butler added, “You realize I just did 8-hours doing hard work for other people because I chose to, and I had a great time doing it.”
The CAP is taking care of a family who lost their second floor to a fire leaving them homeless. Another couple is getting a home addition. They need more room while raising their grandchildren.