The youth at Spring Lake Church were planning a crisis response mission trip to North Carolina this summer, but all that changed just five weeks ago. Realizing they could no longer travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they made the hard decision to cancel the trip. Still, they wanted the students to be mission-minded and give back. That’s when they reached out to St. John’s and decided to give back right here in Green Bay.

High school students ages 14-17 years-old will be spending this week at St. John’s, serving at St. John’s Homeless Shelter and the Micah Center in downtown. The students will also participate in a Poverty Simulation that will allow them to see first-hand the barriers many people, including those experiencing homelessness, are faced with each day right here in their own community. One of the trip coordinators, Ellen, says that for many students, “this may be their first experience with issues of homelessness and poverty.” She hopes this week with St. John’s will “help open their eyes that even in northeastern Wisconsin, there is hurt. They can learn how to care for people with other experiences from theirs through the Gospel.”

All week, the students will be doing projects that will help St. John’s prepare the shelter for the opening of the next season on Nov. 1, including painting, moving, organizing and building new shelving. With record numbers of guests across each of our three programs last year and increasing needs over the spring with the pandemic, St. John’s staffย  knows that this upcoming shelter season will have its own set of challenges that we will be prepared for, and that’s why having this extra help now is so important.

You can see pictures of the Spring Lake Church students at work by scrolling the images above.