LEWISTON — For three days, volunteers from the United Methodist Church of Auburn have been on a mission: paint, repair, renew and stock a building that helps people who are hungry or homeless.
But the dozens of volunteers didn’t travel across the country, or even across the state, for the big project. They crossed the bridge to the Calvary United Methodist Church in Lewiston.
“This feels no different (than other missions),” said Chris Conant, a member of the United Methodist Church’s mission committee. “The outcome is the same.”
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, volunteers filled the old building on Sabattus Street. On Saturday, about 20 people painted the dining area, covered the kitchen storeroom’s dirt floor with fresh concrete, replaced the mildewed carpet in the pastor’s office with a new laminate floor and fixed sections of the church. Other volunteers provided home-cooked meals for the workers.
Every week, Calvary serves meals to people who are hungry or homeless. But the Lewiston church has fallen into disrepair in recent years. With only about 50 members, many of them elderly, it could not have done the work itself. It also could not have afforded to pay someone to do it.
The United Methodist Church of Auburn, which has at least 300 members, offered to do the work for free and adopted the fellow United Methodist church as its annual mission project. Some of the work — including the offer of a new concrete floor — came as a surprise to the smaller church.
“This is really a big cost savings,” said Lisa Delorme, a Calvary church trustee, who spent Saturday painting alongside the United Methodist volunteers.
The Auburn church planned to stock the Lewiston church’s pantry and finish its work Sunday. The Auburn church’s goal: allow the Lewiston church to better serve the needy.
“I hope people realize this place is here and it’s here to help the Lewiston-Auburn community,” Conant said.