S.C. mission team gives First Broad UMC's home repair ministry a helping hand

Holly Viers • Jul 21, 2019 at 8:30 AM

KINGSPORT — Thirty-two volunteers from two South Carolina churches will be serving in the Model City this week.

Members of St. John’s Parish Church on John’s Island and Rockville Presbyterian Church on Wadmalaw Island will be in the area to work with volunteers from First Broad Street United Methodist Church.

Danny Howe, missions director at First Broad Street, said the team has been coming to Kingsport for the last several years, providing aid to some of the city’s neediest residents.

A lasting partnership

First Broad Street has sent high school mission teams to the Sea Islands of South Carolina since 1981, partnering with local ministries, churches and communities in repairing homes of the low-income on mainly John’s, Wadmalaw and Yonges islands.

Although the first team in 1981 was small in comparison to the teams now, the enthusiasm was contagious, and the teams quickly grew, with more than 100 youth participating some years. As time went on, First Broad Street developed close relationships with churches in the region, including St. John’s Parish and Rockville Presbyterian, Howe said.

Today, volunteers from First Broad Street still go to the Sea Islands, while members of the two South Carolina churches continue to visit Kingsport. The result has been a mutually beneficial partnership that continues to grow.

“Not only has it enabled them to come and help us in what we do here, but it’s also enabled us to be closer in our work there,” Howe said. “So we’re excited about it.”

Getting to work

From July 20-27, the mission team will assist First Broad Street with constructing three wheelchair ramps and remodeling a kitchen in Kingsport, Howe said. First Broad Street’s home repair ministry selects the projects and partners with the city of Kingsport through a home repair grant.

“Typically, the folks that we work with either call in with specific needs, or they’re referred to us by home health agencies or people that are in their homes and see a need that’s systemic,” Howe said. “They’re aware that we do (home repairs), and they refer them to us to take a look at.”

Yearlong service

Though the South Carolina mission team will only be in town for a week, Howe said First Broad Street’s home repair ministry continues throughout the year.

“We have volunteer leadership in our home repair ministry,” Howe said, “and they facilitate both this particular experience with the team coming in, but also all year long, we’re repairing homes or building ramps in our community through our congregation and local volunteers.”