photo by Luke Beck Kreider

by  Luke Beck Kreider for Mennonite Church USA

This week youth and adults worked together in the blazing heat, scraping paint and adding a fresh gray coat to Recovery House of Central Florida.

“It’s hot and hard work, but at least we know we’ve done something good,” said Jonah King, North Main Mennonite, Nappanee, Indiana.

Alena Culbertson agreed as she rolled paint onto the house’s wood siding. “When this is finished I’ll feel a lot better than if I had just sat by the pool all day.”

Recovery House is a faith-based 12-step treatment facility striving to address addiction and homelessness among adult men in Seminole County, Florida.

The volunteers were coordinated by Russ Muller, who graduated from the nine-month program before returning to Recovery House as a caseworker focusing on military veterans. The program can house up to 48 men at a time, providing shelter and recovery support services while working to connect participants to job opportunities, permanent housing, and long-term support networks. It also includes a daily Bible study and opportunities for spiritual mentorship and Christian fellowship.

For Muller, the program’s faith-based core was crucial.

“It taught me humility, and got God back in my life,” he said. “I’m here now because Recovery House was able to reconnect me with Jesus.”

The Mennonite Church USA volunteers are here because community service is at the core of their faith.

“Our youth really enjoy doing service projects,” said Gabriella Harnish, youth sponsor for Mennonite Church of Normal, Illinois. Most of the group had recently traveled to work with Mennonite Central Committee’s Sharing With Appalachian Peoples (SWAP) program, and they regularly do service projects in their home community in Normal.

“It just feels good to know we’ve made a difference,” said King.

Read the full issue of the Orlando Squeeze here.