By Gina Riandeau
ECHO is blessed by many volunteers, especially when NOMADS arrive each year to the Florida campus. NOMADS, which stands for Nomads On Mission Active in Divine Service, is a United Methodist organization made up of retirees who travel in RVs. With 1,100 members, they help to build or repair homes, churches, camps, and other Methodist-related ministry sites.
ECHO has a long Methodist connection, from its original five acres, which were donated by a local Methodist Church, to the connections of its co-founder, Dick Dugger.
This year’s team included seven couples who served for three-weeks. They hailed from six states: Indiana, Illinois, New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota. The group built new office space for the finance department, textured walls, painted, power-washed buildings, washed windows, and built cabinet doors.
The team included one couple, Jack and Arlene Fenn, who have lived in their RV for 14 years and have completed 82 projects—ECHO being a favorite. Sandi Barclay, NOMADS Board Member and newcomer to ECHO, also found ECHO a favorite. “I am so impressed by ECHO and the work it does,” she said. “The work here is not a fleeting thing; it has a long-term impact on world hunger, which is enormous. It simply amazes me,” she concluded.
ECHO welcomes partnerships with many churches. Many of those who come to volunteer also take the message of ECHO back to their congregations. Members of this year’s team are already thinking ahead to next year and to their part in alleviating world hunger through hands-on ministry at ECHO.