Children at Christian Ministry of Lincoln County choose loading docks and the soup kitchen over television and swimming pools.
Youngsters in the area have been volunteering with the non-profit organization that provides food and services to the needy.
â€œThey could be out swimming and playing video games, but they come here,â€ said John Hall, building supervisor with the ministry.
Halls said the number of young volunteers during the summer has grown during his three years at Christian Ministry. Volunteers have increased from two to more than 25. Each helping hand is needed when maintaining three buildings and approximately 15,000 square feet, he said.
â€œWeâ€™ve got a whole realm of things that need to be done.â€
Tuesday morning, just one day after the observed Independence Day holiday, four youths were hard at work. Some dug ditches while others washed garbage cans and delivered food.
Hannah Deans, 18, said she has been volunteering for several years. The Gaston Christian School graduate said a friend invited her to help one Christmas, and sheâ€™s been coming back ever since.
â€œI was bored in the summer so I came here to see what was going on,â€ she said.
What was going on included endless opportunities to help the community. Deans said she has done everything from pulling up weeds to putting away groceries. She keeps coming back for more.
â€œI like the work, the people, and it gives me something to do during the summer.â€
Brian Allen, 12, agreed that the activity was what he enjoys about the experience.
Allenâ€™s mother works in the soup kitchen. He came with her to Christian Ministry last summer and found the activity stimulating.
â€œItâ€™s fun,â€ he said. â€œI get to see some of my friends, and I just like doing it,â€ he said.
Hall said volunteerism is good for everyone but especially youngsters.
â€œIt teaches them a service to the community,â€ he said.
Youth volunteers are between the ages of 12 and 18. Hall is planning a recognition event for the end of the summer.
â€œTheyâ€™ve done so much I just want to thank them for all their help,â€ said Hall.by Diane Turbyfill