Students & Benton Harbor ministry serve local residents
This year, Andrews University students worked with the University’s Office of Campus Ministries to aid the community of Benton Harbor. Partnering with Harbor of Hope, a local Adventist church plant supported by Pioneer Memorial Church, through their Our2Cents community outreach program, the students made homes in Benton Harbor warmer in preparation for the approaching winter season. Leading the project was Unique Bolden, student chaplain. She and the other volunteers split into groups to take care of one of three homes.
“The house that my group was assigned needed a lot of work,” says Bolden. “The living conditions were poor and the home was not clean. There were spiders and cobwebs in the windows we were supposed to be cleaning and covering.”
Using donations and volunteer effort, Our2Cents aims to help local residents who have a hard time with certain home repairs due to financial or physical restrictions. In addition to preparing local homes for winter weather, Our2Cents also sent individuals that weekend to repair a leaky sink that was rotting the floor.
“Many of these houses are owned by people who do not have the resources to fix the issues themselves, such as single mothers or older members of the community,” Bolden explains. “The homeowner of the place we worked is bedridden and she was grateful that a group of young college students took time out to help.”
Bolden said that she and her team worked hard, treating their assigned home as if it were their own.
“I heard the team laughing and bonding as they worked together,” recalls Bolden. At the end of the work day, the group prayed with the homeowners. “We asked God to bless the family living in each home.”
June Price, University chaplain, sees similarity in this volunteer effort and the ministry of Jesus. “You could not separate Christ from His acts of caring for others,” she says. “It is who He was.”
Part of Our2Cents’ mission is based on Christ’s words: “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to me.”
“As Christians,” Price adds, “caring for others should inherently be who we are as well because of the Spirit of God within us. Helping winterize homes in Benton Harbor, and getting to know other children of God, was our honor.”