By Jessica Brodie
Salkehatchie is back in full swing this year after three years of hiatus because of the pandemic.
That’s the word from Kathy Hart of Salkehatchie Summer Service LLC, who said nearly 40 weeklong mission camps are planned across the state this summer for volunteers to repair the homes of people in need.
Last year a smaller-scale Salkehatchie was held, with 11 camps and 318 volunteers that repaired 33 homes across the state. Roofs and ramps were the majority of work projects, and all volunteers were required to be vaccinated from COVID-19.
This year, the COVID vaccination requirement has been waived. Volunteers must be at least 14 years old, and all adult volunteers must do a background check. Cost is $250 per volunteer and covers the cost of shingles, building supplies and other materials. Lodging and meals are included. Registration is open now for the camps, which go directly into communities of chronic poverty and repair the homes of local families there.
“If anyone doubted the need for Salkehatchie, I can truthfully say, based on the referral calls and e-mails coming in from desperate homeowners and others, there is a need, absolutely,” Hart said.
Founded by the Rev. John Culp, Salkehatchie began as an initiative 45 years ago to give youth, serving alongside adults, a taste of serving God with their own hands and feet by helping poor people in the state with home repair. Still today, the main focus is serving God by repairing the homes for the persons in need of home repair but with no means to pay for it.
Over the years, hundreds of homes received new roofs, ramps, flooring, ceilings, bathrooms, kitchens and improvements in accessibility through the hands of youth at Salkehatchie.
Although it began as a South Carolina United Methodist venture, volunteers today are from many denominations and some come from out of state. Salkehatchie’s doors are open to all.
2 Rivers (Eastover)
Bakers Creek (McCormick)
JET (Johnston, Edgefield, Trenton)
Winyah Bay (Georgetown)
Creekfront (Murrells Inlet)
Catawba (Fort Mill)
June 24-July 1
While much of the experience involves home repair, volunteers say Salkehatchie is so much more than this. Days of hard, sweaty work in the South Carolina summer sun are followed by nights of fellowship, reflection, music, worship, team-building and fun.
“It is a place where modern-day miracles occur and lifelong relationships begin,” Hart said.
To register, go to www.salkehatchie.org.