Campus Minister Takes His 11th Spring Break Service Team to Canton, Mississippi


Adison Karbon, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

This past spring break, Campus Minister Daniel Kriegl went on his 11th trip to Canton, Mississippi, with 15 students to serve at five different sites. 

This beloved service trip has been a tradition for over 20 years. 

Service team members included juniors Kyle Barr, Dominic VandenElzen, Olivia Berndt, Briana Fitzgerald, Sonja Gapinski and Emily Hawley; sophomores Joe Diny, Bryce Kane, William Kapic, Max Rader and NIcholas Scott; and seniors Bennett Schmitz, Bridget Kapic, Jadyn Kulesa and Sarah Lelinski.  Three chaperones traveled with the team.

“I went on the Canton service trip because some of my friends went on the trip last year and spoke highly of the experience,” said Bridget Kapic.  “I had lots of fun and got to meet many inspiring people. The trip helped me grow in my faith by helping others–along with experiencing a world much different from my everyday life.”

Canton, Mississippi, is a small town of 13,000 with a 25% poverty rate. 

That difference in lifestyle also had its impact on Kulesa, who went to Canton last year and then again this year.

“Not only did I connect with classmates that I had never talked to before, but I also connected with people who had an entirely different standard of living than what I was used to. This experience meant putting myself in someone else’s shoes and being able to appreciate what I have instead of telling myself I need things that in the end will not make me truly happy,” explained the senior.

Of the five different work sites, the first was Hope Hollow, which was a new site for this year and one of the best days for Mr. Kriegl. 

Hope Hollow helps those families who live in poverty and have kids with special needs. They have a big farm property where the kids go everyday, but they needed a lot of work done on their property, truly a blessing helping them,” said Kriegl. 

They also served at the homes of Ameda and Bertha, two older women NDA team members have developed a friendship with over the years and are, in Kriegl’s words, “saintly people.”

“Their homes always need a lot of work, but they are always taking care of family and extended family. They are always so happy to see us, and they have so many stories. Their faith is also inspiring,” said the campus minister and trip coordinator.. 

“We also worked at the MadCaap Garden which literally feeds the hungry. I love spending time and working there because I recognize that it is a powerful corporal work of mercy to provide fresh vegetables to those who cannot afford their own food,” he said.

There they prepared vegetable beds, cleared out a lot of weeds/grass, and raked the soil.

Finally, they also worked at the MadCaap headquarters and spent time with children who have “really rough home lives.” MadCaap is Madison Countians Allied Against Poverty.

The service team always stays at the First Baptist Church. 

“They host us most of the time, and it is within a couple blocks of a Catholic church that offers daily Mass that we enjoy attending. The Catholic church always cooks us breakfast on the last day, and it is delicious,” added Kriegl. “We have built a true community with many of the people down there.”

Traditionally they also stay in Champaign, Illinois, at a Super 8. Mr. Kreigl believes this spoils the kids.

“When we are in Canton, many of the meals are supplied by Southern hospitality, and we will have Southern barbecue. We also were provided an all-you-can-eat taco bar one night. A few nights we have pizza and Subway. We eat pretty well,” he said.