Extensive ongoing work provided by an international organization has refurbished and upgraded two schools in Barbour County this year.
Matthew 25 Ministries is an international humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization that has assisted Mount Vernon Elementary School in Barbour County with various needs each year since 2003, according to Tim Mettey, vice president of the organization. This year, the organization also took on a project at Philip Barbour High School.
A group of 48 volunteers joined up with the organization as individuals and members of other groups such as New Hope Community Church and Moeller High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, helped with the projects in Barbour County this year. It was the first time New Hope Community Church volunteered to help and they have already signed up to return next year.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
A volunteer with Matthew 25 Ministries vacuums the recently replaced flooring in a classroom at Mount Vernon Elementary School. This year, 48 volunteers repainted bathrooms, put in new flooring, cleaned and organized rooms and more.
"They just do a fantastic job for this school community and that (elementary) school in particular," said Superintendent of Barbour County Schools Dr. F. Joseph Super.
Each year for about a week at a time at Mount Vernon Elementary School, Matthew 25: Ministries assists with maintenance projects like cleaning floors, replacing flooring, and painting. They've been working on an ongoing project to replace the original carpet in the school and completed the last five classrooms this year, as well as working on "anything that they would possibly need," according to Mettey.
Teachers at the elementary school said they didn't want the same tile in every classroom, so the organization worked to individualize each room based on what the teachers requested. Some rooms have carpet, linoleum, tile or a combination of different carpets and tiles. The music room and the teacher's lounge are two rooms that were transformed this year. The organization also helps to maintain those school projects.
They have supplied the elementary school students with winter coats, hats and gloves, Super said. The organization also provides presents to the students for Christmas and about two or three trucks a year of supplies, based on need.
Because the elementary school's maintenance staff is part-time, Matthew 25 Ministries has developed a shop in a storage room at the school. Parents who volunteer to help clean the school can collect points toward earning detergents and other necessities from the store.
"Our goal is to keep the school open and help offset some of the costs that may have it to close down... it was just not in the condition of other schools," said Mettey. Also, he said that the organization didn't want the students to have to ride a bus two or three hours a day just to get to another elementary school in town.
Also, they've hosted an educational camp for the school children for the last three years.
On Friday, students attending the camp gathered for fun and games in the school's gymnasium.
"We've been so happy that Joe Super has gone on board so much to work with Matthew 25. He's done some great things and I really think he's another key to why Mount Vernon has stayed open. The board is supportive of our efforts here, so it's just really great," Mettey said.
Mettey added that the organization started working at the school because of the commitment the school's principal, Tammy Tucker, has to the children. Mettey said that the student's test scores have "gone through the roof" since she's been principal there.
"Tammy Tucker does a wonderful job here and so do the parents in the area. We feel that there's a lot of love here and we just wanted to continue working here... to make sure that the school stays open and the kids are taken care of," Mettey said.
Although they are in their 10th year of aid to the elementary school, it is the first year Matthew 25 has taken on a project at Philip Barbour High School.
"It's remarkable, they've just adopted that school and this area," Super said.
At the high school, the organization helped clean, repaint and prepare for an expansion project into what Mettey describes as "a shop room they haven't used in the past."
According to a prepared statement submitted to The Inter-Mountain, Matthew 25: Ministries is a top-ranked organization of its kind and is based in Ohio. The group provides diverse types of relief in the U.S. and internationally.
Following the June 29 storm and high winds, Matthew 25: Ministries delivered three truckloads of water and ice to West Virginians in the southern part of the state.
The organization rescues, repurposes and reuses 13,000,000 pounds of excess corporate products each year, helping more than 15,000,000 individuals throughout the United States and around the world, according to a prepared statement.
"What they've done for us is just unbelievable," Super said.
For more information about the organization, visit www.m25m.org.
Contact Melissa Toothman by email at email@example.com.