This Saturday, students at Westborough’s First United Methodist Church and St. Luke the Evangelist Parish will bake Thanksgiving pies.
And the following week is the students’ annual bottle and can drive.
Both fundraisers will support the two churches’ annual youth involvement in the Appalachia Service Project, where they will repair homes in West Virginia over July 6 to July 14.
About 84 students will participate this year, says Jonathan Owen, the First United Methodist Church member who coordinates the trip the two churches sponsor. Nine local adults did an ASP trip last month, he says.
The seventh annual pumpkin pie, apple crisp and uncooked apple crisp fundraiser is underway. The pies are $10, and will be handmade at First United Methodist next Saturday. The uncooked apple crisps must be picked up from 2 to 5 p.m. next Saturday, according to the church’s newsletter. The cooked crisps may be picked up from 2 to 5 p.m. next Saturday or from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday. About 330 pies were sold last year, Owen said Saturday.
The annual bottle and can drive is from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24.
A shed built by the churches’ adult ASP group over the summer will store the bottles and cans.
“We’re really hoping the drive will serve as a focus to get people to bring them. But, that shed will be open 24/7, 365 (days). People can drop off cans anytime they want,” Owen said.
The churches’ youth ASP groups hold monthly major fundraisers to support their materials, room and board, transportation, and program expenses, he said. All students have a fundraising target,and must “put in at least 12 hours,” he said.
Owen said the first Westborough group went during the summer of 1990. He had suggested it to church leaders, having participated in ASP first in high school in suburban Philadelphia.
“We as a culture ask high school students what do they want to be when they grow up. And ASP says, ‘What do you want to do now? Don’t wait until you’re 20, 30, 40 to solve the world’s problems. What can you do now?’ And the answer is, ‘You can swing a hammer. You can dig a hole,’” Owen said.
“What I liked about it in high school – and what I like about it for high schoolers now – is there may be lots of problems in the world that we can’t solve. But ASP concentrates on one that we can. We can put a roof on this one house. Or we can patch a hole in this floor. It celebrates what we can do, as opposed to dwelling on what we can’t.”
The Westborough group will be organized into teams of five students and two adults, Owen said.
Each day typically starts with morning devotionals, he said. The groups then load supplies and prepare their lunch for their work day. The groups work until dinner, which is followed by chores and an evening program.
“Last year, we had a bluegrass band come in one night. That was fun,” Owen said.
The day ends with free evening time.
“Our group tends to always find the local ice cream place. If it’s within walking distance or a short drive, most nights of the week there will be a group at every ice cream place,” Owen said.
The students will make a group presentation, with photos, to their respective churches about two weeks after their return, he said.
Owen said he gives the students questions to reflect on during the trip home, then assembles a paragraph from each response into a presentation. Each student reads their response during the talk.