Mission of Hope aids local families
When Brooke Prahl, a 2012 New London High School graduate heads to Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri, on Wednesday, Aug. 15, she will have more than just college on her mind.
Prahl is the organizer of Mission of Hope, which will take place on Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Bernegger River Walk in New London. The event starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. or while supplies last.
The event is meant to rally volunteers to serve lower income families in the New London area. The event will feature free groceries, free haircuts, free connection to relevant community services, free family portraits, free games and activities for children, free lunch, free prayer, free gifts and free health services.
Other components of Mission of Hope are: "Linking the variety of community services, agencies, non-profits, support groups that are available in the area to each other and to those in need." And "Encouraging others to volunteer with the various non-profits in the area; uniting to meet the needs within our community."
Prahl received her vision for Mission of Hope while volunteering at Convoy of Hope community outreach in the Fox Cities. It was during this time that she realized there were many people in need.
"I realized they don't have to travel that far, I can do something to help them out," Prahl said. "There are so many people in need and I never realized that until I volunteered."
She began contacting people involved with Convoy of Hope in an effort to gather information to create a "mini-version" of it in New London.
"I was still in high school at the time and my mom helped me with the emails and really helped me get it going," Prahl said. "It was a lot of emailing and contacting people and figuring out where to begin."
Prahl, who is majoring in family counseling in college and will fly back on Aug. 24 for the event, said she has no regrets about organizing the event and the satisfaction she receives is helping people who are really in need.
"It's a lot of time but it's a good cause in the end," Prahl said.
She said the biggest challenge has been assembling the volunteers, who will be donating their time for the event. She said there are roughly 100 volunteers. But it has allowed her to meet many people in the community.
"I've really connected with the community," Prahl said. "Everyone in New London - like the mayor, the police department, the fire department and churches. Now I know everyone in town. It's so exciting to know everyone."
Prahl said she hopes the Mission of Hope event is just the beginning of many more to come.
"Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city," Prahl said. "My vision is not just for a one day event for the City of New London; rather may it be a catalyst for greater things to come."
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