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Southern Hospitality in Valdosta

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July 10, 2006

Valdosta - The Southern Hospitality Work Camp is part of a foundation that sends thousands of church youth groups throughout the country repairing houses for the elderly and disabled.  This week, almost 3 hundred and 60 kids arrived in Valdosta, ready to serve the community and help change lives.

It's been 18 years since Cleo Manning was able to repair her house.  She was recently selected by the City of Valdosta to have a group of teens come work on her home.  "Oh I'm so happy to have them here. Happy, happy!" Manning exclaimed.

The teens are a part of the Southern Hospitality Work Camp, a program which provides church youth groups the opportunity to repair these homes at no cost for the elderly, disabled, and low-income families.

These teens traveled from far and wide to spend the week repairing 46 different houses. They hope the painting, scraping and priming will help them build relationships while they rebuild these homes.  "I've made a lot of new friends and I like that we're not with our youth group and that we get to meet new people from around the country," said 15-year-old camp worker Laura Heltzon. 

The groups have been working for less than a day but Cleo Manning has already noticed a difference.  Now she's looking forward to the end result.  "Oh, it's going to be so beautiful!"

The Southern Hospitality Work Camp will be in town until July 14th.

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