Recognizing the need for time and talent, three youth groups from the diocese have continued a tradition of assisting the residents of Cairo while spending time each summer supporting the efforts of Daystar Community Program, a diocesan outreach agency.
Youth from Immaculate Conception in Columbia, St. Mary’s in Mount Vernon, and Holy Childhood in Mascoutah offered their services to Daystar in June and July, making home repairs and visiting with the residents of Cairo while also serving at the Kitchen Table, Daystar’s soup kitchen.
According to Laura Whelan, youth ministry volunteer at Immaculate Conception, the 15 teens who participated in the mission trip came back with a “greater appreciation of Cairo, air conditioning, their parents and the fulfillment of hard work for others.”
The parish sent 21 people total, including six adult chaperones, on the mission trip from July 7-9 to deliver gently used household items, furniture and clothing to those in need while also lending a hand with power washing and painting at resident homes. Leisel Whitener, a youth member of the parish, described the experience as “humbling” where as Sam Estes, another youth parishioner described the trip as something personal and memorable.
Members of St. Mary’s in Mount Vernon spent time at Daystar from July 10-13. Their time was spent helping area residents pick out items at the store, making home repairs and processing donations.
Youth from Holy Childhood in Mascoutah made their annual trip to Daystar from June 12-17 with 15 adults and youth in attendance. Their time was spent cutting and cleaning up yards, helping at the food kitchen, painting homes and sorting clothes at the store, according to Father Paul Wienhoff.
“It was a very good experience for our youth and it also helped Daystar,” Father Wienhoff said.
Daystar Ministries, founded in 1978 by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, provides services to the poor and marginalized in Alexander and Pulaski counties. The social service agency hosts summer programs for youth groups and schools.
To donate time, monetary gifts or food, clothing and household goods, contact Director Sherry Miller at 618-734-0178.