What good are a bunch of kids anyway?

6:30 a.m. Yes, you read that correctly. The first volunteer arrived on Monday morning, and Tanque Verde Lutheran Church’s (TVLC) week of Youth Mission Day Camp officially began. After the first middle school student arrived, a whole team of middle school and high school youth appeared, ready to serve. Plus, some awesome adult leaders!

The first day brought us to a migrant shelter at a local church where the team took part in several different projects. After 100 sandwiches were made, 40 hygiene kits completed, and way-too-many-to-count spoon kits and kid activity bags were done, the team was not. Add in learning about migrants, making balloon animals with the kids at the shelter, and taking a tour, then we called it a day. 35 service hours completed, and it was only day one.

The Diaper Bank of Southern AZ welcomed the team on day two and even had snacks to share. After learning about the mission and purpose of the Diaper Bank, the group got to work…and work they did! Not 1,000 diapers or 2,000 diapers but 4,780 diapers were sorted and bundled. This will help over 95 families in the local community.

Day 3. Off to the ranch, we go! The crew headed off to Therapeutic Ranch for Animals and Kids (TRAK) and got right to it. From raking and feeding animals, to sweeping and hauling, a whole lot was done. Oh yes, and some enjoyable petting of dogs. Really. Big. Dogs. The crew wrapped things up at TRAK and then headed off for a quick random act of kind service in Tucson.

Thursday came quickly…and early. At 7:00 a.m., everyone met and went off to Las Milpitas de Cottonwood Community Farm. The community farm, a program of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, helps the local public by teaching gardening and sustainability. The youth of TVLC helped to reclaim garden plots, get rid of weeds, seal the floor of a shed, and sift compost. After a quick snack break and education time, everyone helped harvest vine-ripened tomatoes and some very spicy hot peppers. With the temperature climbing, we all headed back to TVLC with smiles on our faces and dirt on our pants.

Even with Friday being the last day, the work and fun did not stop. First, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona showed everyone around the warehouse and then the work began. Over 12,000 pounds of food was sorted and unpacked. Pouches of dried milk, canned peaches, pouches of chili, and more canned peaches. More than 1,240 senior food bags were started thanks to the work of the TVLC team. Right after the food bank work was done, we arrived at the new H.S. Lopez Family Foundation Center of Opportunity. Gospel Rescue Mission serves from this location, housing over 300 men and providing more than 1,000 hot meals daily. After getting a tour and hearing success stories of the Mission, the youth took part in prayer exercises and wrote encouraging messages and scriptures on bookmarks for people there. Friday afternoon wrapped up the week with a fun pool party for the hard-working youth.

Overall, more than 200 hours were served and 1,505 families lives were impacted by the hands, feet and hearts of the TVLC youth. The week would not have been possible without the kind adults, caring youth, community partners, and the encouragement of TVLC. Many thanks to all who prayed and financially supported our Youth Mission Day Camp.

To learn more more details of the week or how you can help the TVLC Family Ministries Team continue its good work in people’s lives, please contact Aviry Christy, Director of Family Ministries at Familymin@tvlc.org.