By Ukee Washington
LANSDALE, N.J. (CBS) – Across South Jersey this week, you will see teams of teenagers and young adults armed with tools, buckets and paint. They’re on a mission to help people who need a hand at home.
Marie Thurber, 72, wondered how she would ever repair the house her father built.
“I have no money, and the house is literally falling apart,” said Thurber.
So a team of teenagers and young adults are taking up some of that burden.
Lansdale 14-year-old Francis Burk said, “We are painting the room, repainting all the walls and stuff.”
They’re part of a group called Group Cares Workcamps fanning out across Burlington County this week to help the elderly and low-income.
“They’re working on this resident’s home providing some free home improvements,” said Steve Jackson of Columbus (NJ) Baptist Church.
“Everything he said was like ‘bless him,’ because I needed it all!” said Thurber.
Group Workcamps is a summer program to give kids an opportunity to help others across the country through a church-based mission.
“There are over 300 kids that have come from around the country mostly from the Mid-Atlantic states,” said Jackson. “There’s even some from overseas.”
These young people are not licensed contractors and can’t do major repairs like fix Marie’s roof, but they can freshen up what she can’t.
Lauren Beaulieu, a 21-year-old from Connecticut, explained, “We are chipping away all the old paint and wallpaper so we can repaint it.”
Marie Thurber and her daughter Sharon Kennedy say the gift of help is a dream come true.
“The kids are wonderful, absolutely wonderful,” said Kennedy.
For the young people, it’s a lesson in giving. Sixteen-year-old Jennifer Yang of Mountain Lakes, NJ, said, “It’s just really great doing it for someone who can’t do it on her own.”