Monday, July 27, 2020

1st Presbyterian Church Youth Group Wraps Up Week of Service With Hobart's Run Clean-Up

Blogger's Note: The following was submitted by Cathy Skitko on behalf of Hobart's Run.

Hobart’s Run was blessed to receive a late spring call from the Rev. Carter Lester, co-pastor of First
Photos courtesy of Cathy Skitko
Volunteers gather at the Ricketts Center
to get the tools they'll need for a 
day of service.
Presbyterian Church, 750 N. Evans St., Pottstown, during which he asked if there were any properties in our neighborhood improvement focus area that could use some volunteer-supplied TLC.

For the past 24 years, the church has been taking 20-30 “Senior Seekers” – its senior high school youth group -- and adult volunteers on overnight trips to various U.S. cities to help keep residents “warm, safe, and dry.” 

With the Covid-19 pandemic, a 25th trip would not be possible, so Carter and his wife and co-pastor, Kerry Pidcock-Lester, searched for ways to hold their “work camp” in the immediate community during the days, then send participants home to shower and change before returning for socially-distanced evening fellowship.

Painting the parsonage wall at Church of Christ.
Before long, numerous Hobart’s Run projects were identified, including demolishing a fire-damaged, dangerous garage at a home on Isabella Street; painting part of the parsonage exterior at the Church of Christ on Beech Street; painting a wall along Walnut Street; and completing power-washing, brick re-pointing, and railing painting at the Ricketts Center as well as installing a safety fence around the playground. Litter collection rounded out the project list.

Hobart’s Run donated about $3,000 in paint and other supplies, as well as the bulldozing skills of High Street roofing contractor Alex Butts, who took down the garage – leaving the clean-up to the hardworking volunteers who manually filled three dumpsters with broken cinder blocks and other debris. 

 Property owners including Janet Walker gratefully worked alongside the teens, their mentors, and
The garage before demolition ...
Hobart’s Run’s Twila Fisher, director of community and economic development, and Cathy Skitko, director of communications.

The Rev. Austin Chinault, pastor at Zion’s UCC, 209 Chestnut St., joined the First Presbyterian team to offer his skills as a former stone mason at the Ricketts Center.

Boyertown Area Multi-Service, which oversees the Ricketts Center, provided lunches to the workers. 

 During the final lunch, the church group surprised Hobart’s Run with a $500 donation raised by the Senior Seekers to help defray expenses.
The garage after demolition ...

Prior to the two-day Hobart’s Run “work camp,” the church group provided their muscle at the Crow’s Nest Natural Lands Preserve in Elverson; removed trash from the Schuylkill River in partnership with the Schuylkill River Greenways Association; and enjoyed a mid-week kayaking excursion. 

The Senior Seekers includes students from numerous area schools, including Pottstown; The Hill School; Pottsgrove; Owen J. Roberts; Spring-Ford; Boyertown; and Exeter; as well as a youth who made the trip from New Jersey. 
Painting a wall on Walnut Street.

Hobart’s Run thanks the Lesters, the Seekers, and the adult volunteers from First Presbyterian for their energetic, positive service -- both within our Pottstown neighborhood, and to the greater world community. 

Their efforts truly mirror the Hobart’s Run tagline calling for “community action, neighborhood pride, and real progress,” and it was inspiring to witness and sweat alongside these exemplary, caring citizens.

First Presbyterian Church's Senior Seekers gather at the Ricketts Community Center for a day of service in the the Hobart's Run area of Pottstown.

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