Salvation Army receives help from Illinois youth ministry

Published 4:50 pm Thursday, July 13, 2023

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The local Salvation Army received some help from out of town this past week, as students from Common Ground of Central Illinois came to help serve the community. Located in Delavan, Illinois, Common Ground is a nonprofit youth ministry that unites local youth groups for different projects. According to the leader of the Bainbridge group, Eric Biehl, this is not the first time they’ve ministered in Georgia, having served in Savannah just a few years ago. “When the pandemic hit, we usually go through a company, and the company we went through canceled our tripod us,” he recounted. “Our kids were still wanting to go somewhere, so I, real quick, planned one and we went just over to Indiana, which isn’t far from us.” After this point, Biehl began planning the youth’s mission trips himself, this year reaching out on Facebook for prospective hosts. This is how he got in touch with Grace Church, which has been hosting the group of 15 during their stay.

The group hasn’t just been confining it’s efforts to the Salvation Army, though, with the kids also working on various projects at the Bainbridge and Donalsonville Friendship Houses. At the Army, the students have been handing out bottles of water, free light bulbs provided by Georgia Power, as well as Bibles. According to Salvation Army Director Merreann McDonald, they distributed around 200 bottles of water in just one day. “This is a project that I’ve wanted to do all summer, and haven’t had the hands to be able to do it,” she explained. “I’m thrilled that we were able to pull this project off with the help of this group. These students have been an exceptional group of students to work with, and we feel very blessed to have gotten to do this for just a few days.” McDonald stated that she would look forward to being able to do something like this again in the future.

“There’s just a real good sense of community here,” Biehl said. “You can tell that there’s a lot of good people that want to spread Jesus’s word and spread His kingdom, and we’re just happy to have a small chunk of that this week. It’s really helping our students grow in their own faith, and we’re really excited to bring that back to Illinois with us.” The students likewise had positive things to say about Bainbridge, though they did remark on the difference in temperature between here and Illinois, describing the Georgia heat as “slap-your-mama hot!”

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The next major event scheduled for the Salvation Army is Supper on Scott Street, scheduled for the afternoon of Monday, July 24.