Carolina Cross Connection has been dedicated to serving the
needs of the elderly, disabled and low-income families of North Carolina for the past 26 years.
Driven by teaching service and leadership through Christianity, CCC allows staff and volunteers to apply their lessons and see firsthand what their faith can do.
Through organized service weeks, CCC spends the summers bringing together adult and student campers, ages 13 and older, to complete home improvement projects, such as cleaning, yard work and building wheelchair ramps and other minor projects.
“It’s an awesome time to build a community with the church,” said Katie Davis, director at Camp Carolewood, the local CCC location in Happy Valley.
In 1983, a youth group from Lincolnton attended a similar program, called Mountain T.O.P. in Tennessee. “They were inspired at camp to take that home,” said Krista Petty, development administrator for CCC.
Today, CCC manages five camps that host about 1,500 campers who help between 700 and 800 needy families each summer. By the end of this summer, Petty expects that the organization will have hosted 27,000 campers and assisted 15,000 families total.
In addition to the service weeks, CCC organizes another summer program called Homeless Outreach Mission Experience, which introduces campers to the homeless in Asheville.
“We try to bring joy to the city,” Petty said. “We meet some really great people and hear their stories.”
While most of the rest of the year is spent preparing for the endless projects of the summer, CCC finds time to host service weekends, recruit campers and staff and host fundraising events.
As a non-profit organization, CCC receives donations from churches, businesses and individuals, as well as the occasional community grant. “Money always gives us flexibility,” Petty said.
CCC also encourages donations of supplies, such as tools, gas cards and lumber. Anyone willing to donate is encouraged to contact the local camp to see what is needed.
For those who would rather offer their time, CCC accepts volunteers and hires summer staff. Local college students are hired as camp leaders, and high school students and adults are hired for cooking and cleaning duties.
Campers pay a registration fee that covers the cost of their food and lodging, and staff members contribute to their own paycheck. “As a staff member, we raise half our salary,” Davis said.
In addition, golf tournaments and charity balls are held annually to raise money.
Yet they are still unable to serve every request they receive due to limited supplies, campers and funds.
“We are working on how we can best serve more people,” Petty said. “We just try to help as many people as we can.”
The families that receive help either call in a request themselves or are recommended by one of CCC’s partner organizations, such as Meals on Wheels.
There are no requirements to receive help. CCC simply has to be notified, at which point members may make a home visit to better identify the needs of the household.
“We really want to meet their needs,” Davis said. “We want to do as much as we can.”
For more information on Carolina Cross Connection, visit http://www.carolinacrossconnection.org.