TEAMeffort sends hundreds of young volunteers to work in West Virginia

One of the most persistent needs for Fuller Center for Housing covenant partners is volunteers. Lisa Gregory, executive director of the Fuller Center for Housing of Beckley, W.Va., has had that need met — and then some … at least for this summer, anyway.

TEAMeffort is a nonprofit, interdenominational mission organization that has been sending teams of youth on faith-building mission experiences for more than 20 years, involving more than 100,000 youth and leaders from thousands of churches and organizations during that time.

Gregory had never heard of TEAMeffort before she received a surprise phone call from the organization’s leader. With 400 volunteers working in Beckley over the course of seven weeks, she is glad she answered the phone.

“It was an absolute godsend considering that they called us,” Gregory said this week as 84 volunteers from North Carolina and Michigan worked on four different Fuller Center projects. “I’d never heard of them, but I looked them up and they’re a good, Christian-based organization. They had never been to the Appalachia region and wanted to work in Appalachia.”

TEAMeffort’s seven groups working in Beckley will be putting their faith in action by helping 15 different families in the area make major repairs to their homes, each of which will get new roofs.

“It was an absolute godsend considering that they called us. … They’re a good, Christian-based organization.” — Fuller Center of Beckley Executive Director Lisa Gregory, talking about TEAMeffort

“Every last one of them is at least a roof,” Gregory said. “We also look not only at their roof but also at their stairs, their porches, whether there is already a ramp.”

At one location, there already was a ramp, but it was quite dangerous in the hilly area.

“We found a ramp that was so steep that the fellow — a paraplegic who was injured in a car wreck — went flying off of it,” she said. “He said he’s landed on his face quite a few times. He now has a safe ramp that is two levels.”

TEAMeffort pays its own way to the work sites and supplies skilled supervisors who guide the young volunteers. The Fuller Center of Beckley selects the projects.

“It makes an immense difference,” Gregory said of the huge influx of volunteers this summer. “The families we’re getting are very low-income — surviving on five hundred to a thousand dollars a month.”


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