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Kentucky Heartland Outreach hosts summer youth camps

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By The Staff

Joan C. McKinney and Heather Hensley

Campbellsville University and Kentucky Heartland Outreach

A hammer and some nails, lumber and shingles, and a crew of servant leaders are making it possible for Kentucky Heartland Outreach to provide home repairs to families in the Central Kentucky region this summer.

Campbellsville University, which is affiliated with KHO, hosted about 60 volunteers, including youth and adults, who came to Campbellsville from around the state to aid in the repairs. Groups from St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Louisville, Eubank Baptist Church in Eubank and Marion Baptist Church in Marion were among the volunteers in Campbellsville.

The local Kentucky crews helped construct wheelchair and walking ramps for those needing assistance getting in and out of their home as well as putting on much needed decks for more accessibility and replacing leaky roofs.

"We are so thankful each year for the number of groups that come out to volunteer their time," said Todd Parish, president of KHO.

"It allows all of us to work together and minister not only to each other, but to the needs of the families in the community and bring them into a knowledge of Jesus Christ. He's the reason we do everything we do.

"It's great to see a variety of groups from all over the nation, and even those close to home, come out and work with KHO on our projects. We were so thankful for the groups that came and brought their own aspects of aide and worship to the table. Each person has the opportunity to minister to someone in their own way and it's amazing to see how everyone can use their talents and gifts to work towards one central ministry."

John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president of Campbellsville University, said KHO is a great ministry.

"KHO allows youth and our students to work with those who cannot help themselves, and we are pleased to work with these servant leaders to help others."

Chowning said the university was pleased to host the groups from Louisville, Eubank and Marion as they worked in the community.

"One of the exciting things to witness about this particular week was the coming together of historically black churches from urban areas with historically white churches from rural areas," Chowning said.

He said, "The leaders and youth from the different backgrounds learned from each other and benefited by the diverse backgrounds and experiences of those participating. Christian servant ministry opportunities, such as the summer camps of KHO, are bringing a variety of people together."

Chowning said, "There is a 'unity amidst diversity' that results in serving others in the name of Jesus Christ. Dr. Lincoln Bingham, Rev. Shelby Reynolds and all the other youth ministers and leaders involved, are to be commended for sharing in the vision to bring these groups together in a week of Christian servant ministry.

"Lives are being changed through the outreach ministries of Campbellsville University such as Kentucky Heartland Outreach."

KHO hosts youth groups from churches all over the nation each summer in order to accomplish much needed repairs on homes in the Central Kentucky region. Each summer, KHO works in a certain region of the state, giving families a new roof, deck or wheelchair/walking ramp. A trained crew chief is in charge of each site, while gaining the help of the volunteers to get the task accomplished in a timely manner.

All is done free of charge to the homeowners, providing they qualify for the grant-funded program, which specializes in aiding homeowners who are at or below the area median income levels for their county.

KHO is funded in part by the Kentucky Housing Corp. through a grant that provides the means for the materials and administrative costs it takes to run an intense camp such as this, and also by Campbellsville University. Labor is provided on a volunteer basis from the many churches that wish to spend a week of their summer doing something to help a homeowner in need.

In addition to the home repairs, the groups have a chance to worship together each night with the KHO worship band and with KHO's camp pastor. The camp is a chance for students to understand the ministry that Jesus Christ had among the people and how he was able to meet people's physical needs as well as their spiritual needs.

Kentucky Heartland Outreach is a nonprofit, faith-based organization specializing in home repairs, including roofing projects, decks and wheelchair or walking ramps. For more information about the program or to obtain an application, call 469-4949.

- Joan C. McKinney is news and publications coordinator at Campbellsville University, and Heather Hensley is a case manager with Kentucky Heartland Outreach.