EAST ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – Several acres of vacant lots in East St. Louis are being cleared for a new park and the work is being done at no charge.
The group World Changers has descended on East St. Louis this week. 119 teenagers from Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri are donating their time clearing four blocks of vacant lots owned by the Christian Activity Center in East St. Louis. The center wants to turn the property into a park. The students will be working cutting down trees and scrub brush and picking up trash, so ultimately it can be a park for children. "The impact of their work is huge I mean just their labor alone has saved a us a half a million dollars of work that they've done that we can eventually use for the actually building the park itself," said Chet Cantrell, executive director of the Christian Activity Center.
World Changers is a ministry of Lifeway Christian Resources which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, so there is a spiritual message that comes with the physical labor.
19-year-old Andrew Minor from Jasper, Alabama said, "That's the real reason I’m here is to spread the gospel, but I’m spreading the gospel by doing construction work so if people can come up to us and say hey why are you doing this then that just opens the door to talk to them about the lord."
The students invest sweat and money into the project. On average they pay $250 to go on the trips.
World Changers will be working in East St. Louis until Friday.