By Frank Denzler Rushville Republican
---- — For a number of years, Rush County residents have supported and financially assisted a number of worthwhile causes. The compassion of local residents has never been more evident than the annual Mountain Mission School (MMS) trip to Grundy, Va.
The private Christian based mission is home to between 250 and 300 at-risk students ranging in age from infancy to mid-20’s that come from throughout the United States and abroad.
The Rush County connection to MMS began in 1947 and shows no signs of waning as organizers are preparing for the 66th trip to the school later this month.
Thanksgiving weekend, while many Hoosiers are pushing themselves away from the dinner table or watching a day of football on television, a contingent of Rush County residents will be many miles away at the Mountain Mission School in the hills of Virginia making what has become an annual delivery of needed items and monetary support. More importantly, they will be visiting with the youngsters that call the mission home.
Founded in 1921, the Appalachian Mountain school serves as a child care facility, home, church and school for children who lost their parents or the siblings of parents who could not provide for them.
The mission receives no monetary support from the government and is funded solely by the generous donations of others.
According to local organizer and longtime trip participant, Jerry Kent, through the years, while the roads leading to the school have improved, the needs of the youngsters that call that Mission home remain.
In early years, shoes and clothing were the most needed and delivered items, in recent years, those needs have changed and have evolved into, school supplies furniture, building supplies and medicine being donated to the mission.
While at the school, a majority of the time is spent with the youngsters, and a number of annual traditions are now incorporated into the local’s trip.
Kent said that it is estimated that during the past 65 years, roughly 24,000 banana splits have been prepared and served to the schools’ students by the Rush County visitors. Another tradition is the annual balloon launch which according to Kent, is considered a highlight for the children and their Rush County visitors as well.
This year a short list of some of the items needed at the school are: deodorant, body wash, liquid laundry soap, hand sanitizer, used play station or Xbox game systems with age appropriate games, any types of after school snacks, cold medicine, a locking medicine cabinet.
For additional information regarding the trip, to make arrangement for the pickup of donated items or to make a monetary donation, Kent can be contacted at (317) 339-5286 or contact Angel Keal at (765) 561-3932.
Contact: Frank Denzler @ 765.932.2222 x106.