Missionary Group Sprucing Up Shamokin

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SHAMOKIN — More than 300 volunteers came to Northumberland County this week to help spruce up people’s houses.

The missionary groups come from all over the east coast to paint, clean and do light carpentry work for those who can’t do it themselves.

George Zanella looked on as volunteers built a wheelchair ramp behind his house. Zanella’s house in Shamokin needs work but with his health problems, he can’t do it himself.

“It just gets to the point where you get disgusted.  With the pain I have, I just gave up,” said Zanella.

The house is one of around 60 houses being spruced up this week in Shamokin. More than 300 volunteers from all over the east coast came to Shamokin this week for the Group Cares mission trip.

“Repair people’s houses, give them a hand, lift things, clean things, whatever they are in need of,” explained Peter Haberek of Rhode Island.

The volunteers paid their own way here, but the work is being made possible through donations of money and materials from two fire departments in Shamokin, as well as some local businesses.

One of the houses being fixed belongs to Dorothy O’Brien.  She’s lived in Shamokin for 73 years. The volunteers are fixing her fence.

“My husband just died and it would have been a real burden for myself.  All the children are married.  They’re living on their own,” O’Brien said.

Many of the volunteers are teenagers spending their summer helping others.

Olivia Leroux is from Maine and raised $450 to come on this mission trip.

“It’s awesome because these people really need it and it’s awesome to be able to connect with them and help them out.”

The Group Cares work camp will be in Shamokin through Friday.