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Students traveled to Missouri during spring break to assist tornado victims

The Penn State Berks Christian Student Fellowship (CSF), a student group, spent their spring break in Joplin, Missouri, providing disaster relief to the victims of a severe tornado that struck the city in May 2011. The group of ten students from Penn State Berks and one student from Penn State Schuylkill departed in two vans on Saturday, March 3, 2012, and returned on Sunday, March 11, 2012.

During their week in Joplin, students worked on houses that were in the process of being rebuilt. Tasks included putting up siding, painting, building a deck, and completing other repairs. The students also helped an older resident who was a victim of the tornado to move into a new apartment.

The trip was organized by Pastor David Hershey, adviser to the Berks student group and member of the Christian Student Foundation of Pennsylvania. Hershey believes the trip built a sense of community and friendship. “I know all the students who went had an excellent time. I think students got an appreciation for helping others,” states Hershey. “All the people in Joplin were very appreciative.”

In addition, Mark Groff, Sergeant in Police Services at Penn State Berks, also accompanied the student group. Groff is also actively involved in the group's activities.

Penn State Berks first-year student Hannah McConnell recalls, “The trip to Joplin was amazing. It felt so good to give a week’s worth of service to a community that is still trying to recover from the tornado damage. We did very small tasks, and Joplin still has a long way to go, but those contributions will all add up.”

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