By KACIE FLYNN
The group is planning to head to Cincinnati and will participate in Week of Hope, an event organized by Group Cares, a Christian organization that provides resources for church ministries, according to its website. Week of Hope gives Christian youth groups across the country an opportunity to contribute by participating in philanthropic work in different communities.
Linda Adams, a member of Fairview United Methodist and a volunteer helping to organize the mission trip, said the trip to Cincinnati will give its young participants the understanding that their comfortable circumstances in Columbia are gifts to be appreciated.
“I think these trips give our youth a touch of reality,” Adams said.
Along with 100 to 125 children from youth groups around the country, eight local youth group members ranging from sixth graders to high school seniors and four adults will make the trip. Although the group won’t know exactly what type of work they’ll do until they arrive, past members have participated in Week of Hope five times before and the group is familiar with the kinds of work they could be doing. Adams said charity work could include, but is not limited to, helping in public schools, soup kitchens, community centers and cleaning up yards for the elderly.
The group will drive to Cincinnati on July 1o and spend the week sleeping on the floors of churches or schools.
“We’ll share showers and sleep on floors,” Adams said. “It’s not outside roughing it, but it’s certainly not hotels.”
The cost to participate in Week of Hope is $250, which provides food for the week and covers Group Cares’ cost of organizing the mission. Each participant will pay a $50 registration fee and the remaining dues will be raised through fundraising efforts and donations, such as that from Shakespeare’s.
Giving away “free money” is a common practice for Shakespeare’s, Jessi Weir, manager at the restaurant’s downtown location, said. The pizzeria often accepts requests from various groups around Columbia to participate in fundraising opportunities.
“We do it because it brings us business and it makes us feel good that we contribute to the community,” Weir said.
Both Shakespeare’s locations will participate in the fundraising effort. Everything on the menu will be eligible, including deliveries. All customers hoping to make a contribution must have a flyer for the fundraiser to turn in at the time of purchase, which can be found on the church’s website.