ALTAMONT, Tenn. -- Last fall, Mountain T.O.P. (Tennessee Outreach Project), an interdenominational ministry to the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee affiliated with the Tennessee Conference of The United Methodist Church, got some good news.
Mountain T.O.P. was awarded a $60,000 HPG (Housing Preservation Grant) from The U.S. Department of Agriculture. That grant, along with loan programs offered by USDA to qualifying families, gives Mountain T.O.P. the ability to help Cumberland Mountain families badly in need of home construction or renovation projects.
There's just one problem.
"Now, we need people," said Mountain T.O.P. executive director Rev. Ed Simmons.
In order to complete the projects, Mountain T.O.P. especially needs volunteers for its Adults In Ministry program this summer.
Adults from all over the country give of their time and come together each year to serve. Campers in Major Home Repair will work in teams on major construction projects such as roof repair, room additions, and siding. Major Home Repair is an option at week-long camp events during the summer but is also offered at long weekend camps (Thursday night through Sunday morning) in the spring and fall. Men and women of all skill and experience levels are welcome, from novices to professional contractors.
"That's one of the great things about the Mountain T.O.P. program," said Simmons. "Everyone brings different gifts and different opportunities. You may never have picked up a hammer, or you may build houses for a living. Either way, God can use you in ministry."
In the Summer Plus program, teams of adults lead sessions for local teenagers on topics from self defense to creative writing. Kaleidoscope is a program for local special needs children. Volunteers help these children learn about and experience the visual and performing arts.
AIM weekends for 2008 are April 24-27, Oct. 2-5, Oct. 9-12, Oct. 16-19, Oct. 23-26, and Oct. 30-Nov. 2. AIM full weeks are June 8-14 (Major Home Repair only), June 22-28 (choice of Major Home Repair or Summer Plus) and July 6-12 (choice of Major Home Repair or Kaleidoscope). More information about the AIM program, as well as applications for 2008 camp events, can be found on the Mountain T.O.P. web site, www.mountain-top.org, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (931) 692-3999.