WorkCampers for rent in Fredericksburg

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WorkCamp teams from St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in Fredericksburg have been right on the heels of winter's retreat this spring with their rakes, shovels and muscles. As part of a fundraiser for this year's diocesan WorkCamp, the group is participating in a Rent-A-Crew program started five years ago. The program and their annual mulch sale have proven to be very successful fundraisers for the group.

The crews, which consist of a number of teens and at least two adults, can be "rented" to help with lawn work and other small jobs in exchange for a donation. The crews have been working since late February and have been a big hit in the area, especially among retirees.

"A lot of the houses have equipment, but for one reason or the other they can't do the work," said adult organizer and volunteer Karen Clemente. "They have hauled away junk, cleaned out people's garages and sledge-hammered old outhouse buildings." During one job, a father and son used a chainsaw to chop up an old tree to make a stepping path for the homeowners.

According to Clemente, the work has the added benefit of preparing the youths for the diocesan WorkCamp experience.

"It gives them a feel for what WorkCamp is going to be like," said Clemente.

So far this year, the group has completed 33 jobs and raised about $4,000. Many of the crew members will participate in both the diocesan WorkCamp in Spotsylvania and the mission trip to Bánica in the Dominican Republic, which costs more than $1000 per person. Fortunately, after just doing two jobs in the Celebrate Virginia neighborhood this year, the word spread like wildfire. They soon had all the jobs they could handle.

The group has now raised most of the money they need and will not take on any new jobs this year. Any extra money they earn will go to buy additional items for the Bánica mission church.

Buyers can be reached at abuyers@catholicherald.com

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016