TREADWAY, Tenn. (Feb. 16, 2015) – A Maryville church group is donating labor and materials to improve the old school where Jubilee Project provides crucial services for Hancock County.
The Holston Conference Foundation has issued a $20,000 challenge grant to encourage other churches to help complete the project.
The “Faithful Men" of Fairview United Methodist Church have committed $65,000 of in-kind services to build bathrooms and provide clean water at the old Flat Gap school, which serves as a bunkhouse for incoming mission teams, said the Rev. Marta Cogburn, Jubilee Project interim director.
The well that supplies the school building is contaminated and recently “had to be shut down,” Cogburn said. The Fairview men’s group stepped up to help, installing a holding tank and purchasing a trailer equipped with a tank so water can be hauled from a municipal water source to the school.
“The Fairview men are moving quickly. The work will be done in a matter of weeks,” Cogburn said.
Even with Fairview’s commitment, “Jubilee still faces thousands of dollars in direct costs to renovate the facility,” Foundation officials said. “The Foundation will match each dollar raised two to 1.” For example, “donor contributes $50, the fund matches it with $100.”
The $20,000 challenge grant will be provided through the Goddard Mission & Ministry Fund, Foundation leaders said. [For giving information, see below.]
INCREASE IN VOLUNTEERS
The old Flat Gap school has been a part of Jubilee Project’s ministry for many years, previously serving as a restaurant, then a community kitchen. The school is located about 10 miles south from Jubilee Project’s headquarters in Sneedville.
Jubilee Project has seen a “phenomenal” rise in the number of mission teams signing up to serve in Hancock County, from 12 in 2013 to 31 in 2014, Cogburn said.
Some volunteers stay in the school, except during June and July, when overnight Jubilee volunteers are housed in the rescue squad building. Appalachian Service Project has partnered with Jubilee Project to host its own mission teams in Flat Gap school during June and July.
Fairview’s work will not only enable the school to accommodate 85 volunteers more comfortably, “we want to use the school year-round,” Cogburn said. The goal is to use the school as a community center and place to offer retreats, vacation bible school, and learning events.
Jubilee Project logged 15,000 volunteer hours in 2014, serving 11,772 people in Hancock County. “Some of those people may have been served twice, but there were 11,772 separate encounters,” Cogburn said. Although Jubilee’s volunteers come from various denominations, 594 came from United Methodist churches.
Most of the mission teams do home-repair and clean-water projects throughout the county, but volunteers also renovate Jubilee’s buildings, provide meals, organize clothing, and donate food and supplies, she said.
“We have numerous weekend warriors and individuals who donate their time,” she said. “We’re rolling.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 30.8 percent of the population in Hancock County live below the poverty level, compared to 17.6 percent state-wide.
Help Jubilee Project and the Faithful Men of Fairview finish the Flat Glap School project and your gift will be doubly matched. Give online ... or write check to "Holston Conference Foundation" with "Jubilee" on the memo line and mail to: HC Foundation, P.O. Box 900, Alcoa, TN 37701.
Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newspaper.