Appalachia Work Camp
Saint Joan of Arc Parish will be participating in the weeklong spiritual work experience of Appalachia Work Camp. Work camp provides the opportunity for the participants to build, refurbish, refresh and renew run-down homes of low-income, elderly or needy people in the Appalachian Region.
A week at an Appalachia Work Camp, Owsley County, Kentucky, is one of the most beautiful areas in the country. With its rolling hills and green valleys, its streams that meander through the hills, one can truly see where the song America the Beautiful came from.
But, Owsley County is also one of the poorest counties in the United States. The average income for a family of four is four hundred ($400) dollars a month. The living conditions for the unfortunate in this region are deplorable: houses that the wind, rain and snow just whip through because the clapboards are rotted away, raw sewage running from the houses that are fortunate enough to have an inside toilet, holes in the floor boards of the house allowing snakes and bugs to enter at their leisure. The main staple is home grown beans, corn and cabbage. Meat is a delicacy. The children are required to attend school to the eighth grade, although it appears that is not always the case – lack of clothing and shoes seem to be the major deterrent. Surprisingly, the people of Owsley County have high spirits and greet everyone with a smile.
Father Dan Sweeney, formerly of Saint Joan of Arc parish, has involved himself and the parishes he has ministered to in a relief effort for the people of Owsley County, Kentucky. Over the last 36 years he has organized a week long building blitz for these people. He and his volunteers travel to Kentucky to spend a week building, repairing and helping them to establish a foothold for a better life.
The camaraderie, the friendships, the feeling of togetherness, will be life long. After all “We are one family in Gods eyes!”