Local church assists poverty-stricken countyWritten by Allison Wingate | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington Church of Toledo has joined World Vision, a worldwide Christian humanitarian organization, in lending a helping hand to Morgan County through the organization’s Rural Poverty Initiative.
The church sent 13 members of its congregation from ages 13 to 60 to the Morgan County city of Malta on July 19 through 25, said associate pastor Jimmy Crowell. This was the first mission experience for several in the group, he said.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2007, 20.2 percent of Morgan County residents were living below poverty level conditions; this figure has increased because of current economic conditions, leaving many families in the region without basic needs such as sufficient housing and health care services.
“We’re going to start doing ministry projects in Toledo and surrounding areas because want to do good in our own backyard,” Crowell said. “When the opportunity came up to work in Malta, we saw a definite need for help there.”
The Washington Church group helped individual families and built infrastructure in the southern Ohio region.
“We built a room in the back [of the collection facility] where they could take in new donations and we put up the walls and flooring. They’re going to put insulation in there so someone can work and collect donations there,” Crowell said.
The mission group also built a wheelchair ramp for a 20-year-old Malta resident because his existing ramp was in poor condition and dangerous to use, Crowell said.
World Vision is piloting the Rural Poverty Initiative Program in the United States and 38 other locations in the world.
Gary Combs, development facilitator for World Vision, lives in Morgan County and sees the effect the recession has had on the region firsthand. He said the region is known for its negative qualities.
“Morgan County was chosen because it is one of the designated distress counties in the United States on a list of 100,” Combs said. “We have many issues that go along with poverty and being in a depressed area, with people feeling hopeless and helpless. Throughout the last several decades, the suicide rate has doubled the national average. World Vision recruits mission teams like Washington Church to work with its partners in Morgan County to combat poverty in the rural community and to work toward the well-being of our children, especially the most vulnerable.”
Combs said the primary concern of World Vision is to do no harm and allow the communities they assist to maintain their independence.
World Vision is a faith-based relief organization that serves nearly 100 million people in 100 countries across the globe, according to its Web site, worldvision.org.
Tags: Mission work