The Back Bay Mission trip to Biloxi, Mississippi January 28 – February 10, 2018 was a great success. A total of 36 volunteers from Minnesota Conference churches and friends traveled to Biloxi to work on a new house; they also tore off and put on new siding on another house.Some of the volunteers worked in the Micah center for the homeless, the emergency food shelf for families in need, and at the Loaves and Fishes program similar to Minnesota programs where many of us have volunteered.
Our group also sponsored and served a noon meal for the staff and the clients of Back Bay Mission once each week, serving over 100 clients and staff during those two meals. It was a great opportunity for the volunteers to talk with the clients and find out their stories. It confirmed what many of us know – one little event could put any one of us in their shoes.
In addition to the work that the volunteers accomplished, they and the churches they represented also donated over $17,000 to Back Bay Mission. Many churches also collected food and clothing for the Micah Center and the emergency food shelf. In fact so much food and clothing was collected that the trailer was overloaded and blew a tire in Mississippi. We blame Shirley Hoff and her church, because of the great volume of items they collected! (Great job Peace UCC St. Cloud.) Next year we will take our larger trailer which can haul twice as much. The challenge is for churches to donate enough food and clothing to fill that trailer next year.
Dates for next year’s Back Bay Mission trip are January 27 – February 9, 2019. We are already taking registrations and have received 4 so far. The Back Bay staff has told me I can bring more volunteers than their normal request of 20 per week. In 2019 we are looking for 30 – 40 volunteers each week to join us in Biloxi, Mississippi. The cost is $305 per week and individuals can come for one week or both weeks. The only additional cost is transportation and lodging to get to Biloxi and back.
The sad part of the trip was that Eleanore Troxel, a volunteer who had been on more than 20 Habitat for Humanity trips with us, and all three of the previous Back Bay Mission Trips, passed away while we were in Biloxi. She had also signed up for this trip and as late as early January still planned to go. She could not go but her van went and helped volunteers to get to Biloxi and back. Eleanore was always looking for ways to help others and she will be missed.
If you are interested in being a volunteer to Back Bay in 2019, please complete a registration form and send it with a deposit of $25. Contact Bob Peterson at email@example.com for additional information and registration forms.