September 2, 2016

Youths touch lives of residents through Nazareth Farm project

Teenagers and youth ministry leaders from St. Agnes Parish in Nashville and parishes in Terre Haute spent four days in late July assisting people in need in Brown County. (Submitted photo)

Teenagers and youth ministry leaders from St. Agnes Parish in Nashville and parishes in Terre Haute spent four days in late July assisting people in need in Brown County. (Submitted photo)

Special to The Criterion

BROWN COUNTY—Youths and adults from St. Agnes Parish in Nashville and from Terre Haute’s youth ministry program joined together this summer to improve the homes of elderly Brown County residents.

Known as Nazareth Farm, the outreach is based on four cornerstones: community, prayer, simplicity and service. Since 1995, team members have provided more than 26,000 hours of service to Brown County.

This year’s project, held on July 22-26, involved 15 sites across central and northern Brown County.

As part of the process, Adrianne Spahr, youth leader for St. Agnes Parish, along with Paul Spahr, responded to requests for service from individuals and organizations.

This year’s projects included splitting and stacking tons of wood, weeding and mulching overgrown gardens and yards, tearing out and rebuilding steps, cleaning out garages and removing debris.

The volunteers also cut down trees, moved furniture, and washed and painted buildings and fences.

Many of the elderly expressed their gratitude for the energetic efforts of the Nazareth Farm team members, who dedicated a total of 612 hours of labor in the four-day blitz, laboring through the 90-plus degree temperatures.

This year’s team consisted of five youths from St. Agnes Parish. Six youths also came from the Terre Haute youth ministry program, representing the parishes of St. Benedict, Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Patrick, St. Margaret Mary and St. Joseph University. Seventeen adults, many of whom return each year, also volunteered.

For years, St. Agnes parishioners Patty and Eric Lindley have offered swimming and dinner at their home for one night of the camp. St. Agnes parishioners Chris and Jim Bullock also have opened their home another night to the weary team members for swimming and a cookout.

Sunday night dinner is always a bountiful feast provided by the ladies of St. Agnes Guild. Joining in the dinner this year were some of the property owners, who enjoyed visiting with team members and talking about the projects.

The rest of the meals are sparse, with lunch consisting of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. To offset the expenses, including materials for some of the projects, the youths each pay $70 to take part in the program.

The contributing parishes can be proud of the work and dedication this project provides to Brown County, and the work done by the young people and their chaperones.

The experience left its impact on the youths, too.

One youth noted, “I am back again because this project brings some of the best memories.”

Another youth said, “We will remember this experience forever.”
 

(For more information about Nazareth Farms, contact Adrianne Spahr, youth ministry coordinator at St. Agnes Parish in Nashville, at spahr6@gmail.com.)

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