Published: Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014 --- 4:20 p.m.
This particular Sunday at First Presbyterian Church in Waunakee, members of the congregation are spending their morning in the room below the sanctuary.
"We're taking probably two tons of stuff down by the time we add up all the luggage," said Kim Tews.
A group of around 50 are going on the Guatemala and Haiti week-long mission trips this Wednesday. They're packing suitcases full of donated items that the people down there desperately need.
"There's a lot of people in these countries without clothing, without access to medical care." Tews is from the organization Outreach for World Hope. She's spearheading the project.
"In Guatemala our focus is on starving children and saving their lives, of course, providing them with nutritional rehabilitation, and then giving them sustainable pathways out of poverty so they can have independence," Tews said. "And then in Haiti our focus is on education and agriculture as well."
"I kinda got hooked after the first trip. They really change your whole perspective and paradigm in terms of what's important in life." This will be Kathy Wilkinson's fourth time in Guatemala. As a physician assistant, she helps with the medical component.
"There was a family we were helping, a widow that had six children. And her youngest had pneumonia. So I had seen her in our medical clinic and treated the daughter," Wilkinson said. "And when we were back two years ago at a distribution, we saw that mother and that little girl. She had grown and she looked fantastic."
A number of new faces are also taking part, like Matt Tye. He says stories from past mission trips inspired him to want to make a difference in someone else's life.
"There's a group of I think 48 people going to Guatemala and Haiti but it's really the whole church and the whole community, as you can see by the donations, that are involved in supporting the mission," he said. "So it's really a community effort. And it's really nice to see this community come together and help people who aren't as blessed as we are."