For 15-year-old Anna Ungerer, an in-person community service project was not an option. The coronavirus pandemic has made high school students rethink how to do many things––both in the classroom and out. Union Academy Charter School in Monroe, where Anna attends, directs students at every grade level to perform community service. Normally, Anna has found projects with a strong face-to-face component. Her next project would be different.
“I needed a project I could do from the safety of my home, and I wanted to help other teens who struggle,” Anna says. “My mom and I talked about possibilities and she thought about Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH).”
Anna’s parents, Susanne and Gerhard Ungerer, are BCH supporters. Susanne is the daughter of former BCH Trustee and former staff member Gene Herrell.
“I grew up loving the Children’s Homes,” Susanne says. “When Dad was a trustee, we visited campuses and I learned as a child the importance of the ministry. Baptists have a strong commitment to serving hurting children. Like my parents, my husband and I are committed to helping anyway we can.”
Anna, her mom and dad, and three sisters attend Shiloh Baptist Church in their hometown.
“I decided to make protective masks for the girls and boys at BCH’s wilderness camps to use during the pandemic,” she says––then smiles. “But first, I had to learn to sew.”
Susanne and Anna’s youngest sister Geena taught Anna to sew. Susanne instructed Anna while Geena cut and ironed fabric squares. Anna stitched each mask and added the elastic bands for the ears. In the process, the sisters learned more about Camp Duncan for Girls and Cameron Boys Camp.
“Anna and Geena were fascinated with Camp Duncan,” Susanne remembers. “The more they learned about the girls, the more their hearts opened up to the children in care and the more Geena insisted we all pray for the children.”
The family used the “Prayer Guide” published in last month’s Charity & Children during the family’s evening devotions. They prayed using the suggested prompts.
“We just completed the guide last week,” Susanne says. “Our four girls, and Gerhard and I, have all been touched as we learned more about this wonderful ministry.”
Anna completed 30 masks. She and her family look forward to the day when the virus no longer limits visits to BCH’s facilities.
“I want to see Camp Duncan and meet the girls,” she says.
BCH president/CEO Michael C. Blackwell was thrilled to learn of Anna’s project and hear whose granddaughter she is.
“We’re so proud of Anna,” Blackwell says. “She is part of a family tradition that has always gone above and beyond the call. Her grandfather served BCH with distinction. Gene is now 82, but he remains an outstanding churchman who loves the Lord. Over the years, he has opened countless doors that brought blessings from around Union County and the surrounding area to BCH’s children and residents.”
To download the Prayer Guide, go to www.bchnc.org/pg2020
Article by Jim Edminson, Charity & Children Editor