Canton ‘Workers’ Appreciate Opportunity to Serve


Adison Karbon, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Over spring break, many juniors and seniors continued the service tradition in Canton, Mississippi. participating in many tasks, including helping at a food pantry, repairing houses and garden work.

The first day they arrived, they helped an older woman who purchased a trailer home that she planned on fixing up. Unfortunately, the trailer was not in living conditions and due to recent illnesses, the trailer was a wreck.

“We had people all over working to help fix it up, some over the course of two days,” said Courtney Romes.

The devoted group of students put new flooring in the kitchen, assembled cabinets, repaired the walls and holes in the floor, created new supports for the whole house and built a back porch.

During day two, the group was split into three with the first group returning to the trailer home, the second staining a deck which was built by a different Canton group, and the third replaced windows and floors, and installed a new desk at another home.

The third day, the groups united again to work at the MadCAAP (Madison Countians Allied Against Poverty) Garden of Hope.

“It was extremely muddy due to heavy rain showers previous to our trip, but we got a lot done,” said Romes, referring to the new gravel they placed down, the manure and soil they spread, broken beds they rebuilt, wood they hauled, weeds they whacked, and clean up they participated in.

At night, they stayed in a gym where everyone used air mattresses for bedding.

“It was a nice area, plus there were soccer nets and basketball hoops, which led to plenty of fun games during our free time,” said Romes.

Each day, they worked as long as they could, working from 8:30 a.m. to about 6  p.m. the first day, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the second day (they ended earlier for a dinner hosted by a Madison County Family), and around 7:30 to about 2 p.m. the third day.

Overall the trip to Canton was seven days with three of them being actual work days.

Junior Country Romes said her favorite experience was “definitely working in the garden.”

When she first heard they would be working in a garden, she pictured something small, but was surprised to find more of a field. Even though it was extremely muddy and hard work, it was fun.

“They separated the guys right away to help haul gravel, but the girls definitely had the hard work,” she said. The girls hauled huge bags of manure, spread it, and then repeated those steps with soil.

Everywhere people where getting caked in mud while they were fixing rotten garden beds, repairing old structures, hauling wood, moving and spreading gravel.

“Several people fell, including me, but it was a very fun day,” said Romes. “I would 100% go on this trip again, but I would rather help out during the summer or something and allow someone new to take part in this experience,” she said. “It was truly amazing.”

Ashley Lemens, also a junior, does not think she can pick a favorite experience because she has so many, one of them being going to the Emergency Room with Mr. Kreigl when her earring back got stuck in her earlobe. The funny part is, they did not take it out in the ER, but her mom did two days later at home.

She also enjoyed getting to work with John who helped them for three days.

“He is such a fun guy, so genuine and always wanting us to learn instead of his doing it for us,” she said.

One of her other favorite things was getting up early for morning mass.

“It was so peaceful, and the people at mass were so happy to see young faces.”

“It overall was a great experience and really eye opening,” she said, “It made me think how grateful I am, but it also made me feel sad that the living conditions are so poor.”

She would recommend this trip to anyone who has the chance and would also 100% do this trip again.

“Most kids would rather be in some tropical place lying on the beach during their spring break,” she remarked. “It takes a lot to just give up your spring break, but it is so worth it.”