PTC3 Builds Homes and Changes Lives
Starting in 2012, Peachtree City Christian Church (PTC3) has led mission trips to the impoverished community of San Raphael Las Flores in Guatemala. PTC3 has constructed 100 homes and one church since the mission’s inception. It began as a simple relationship between PTC3, and a missionary, Herlindo Aquino, who grew up in San Raphael Las Flores.
Herlindo settled his family in Peachtree City, Georgia, in the United States while working as a missionary in Guatemala. He started working with PTC3 in 2011 to address modest needs in Santa Rosa. It started out as a church shoe drive. Hundreds of donations of shoes were sent by Herlindo from Peachtree City to Guatemala. Later, apparel and soccer balls were added to the shoe drive. Herlindo and Senior Pastor Dr. George Dillard III became friends as the outreach programs expanded. George once asked Herlindo about what else was needed by San Ralphael Las Flores. Herlindo’s immediate response was one word, “Housing”.
Like so many others in Guatemala, the residents of Santa Rosa are in severe poverty. Finding work is difficult. The majority of families only make $1 every day. In the remote mountain area, where finding shelter is difficult, individuals often rely on bits of tin, cardboard, torn tarps, old oil cans, or anything else that can be cobbled together for shelter. George was knew that this was an opportunity for PTC3 to support Herlindo and the people he cared for. George was familiar enough with constructing to get started because he grew up working in his family’s hardware store. In 2012 they embarked on the first mission trip with Herlindo on the first mission trip to Santa Rosa with a crew that was primarily church staff and a handful of tools.
The initial expedition started out slowly. Only one house was constructed by the team, but it was a crucial learning experience that would help build an efficient model for all future missions. These little homes, which have a surface area of just ten by twenty feet, a solid door, and a tin roof, place an emphasis on functionality. The most difficult component of construction is undoubtedly laying the foundation, which is a level, hard-packed soil floor free of pebbles and other objects. To help boost the local economy, wood used is from locally purchased lumber. According to need, the village elders decide which households and areas of land would receive houses.
To prepare the personnel and equipment, the operation now starts six months in advance, and it is repeated every June. While returning missionaries make up the majority of the team, there are newcomers every year. These inexpensive homes offer shelter to families that would never be able to purchase one on their own, even though they aren’t much more than a modern tool shed. Each house costs approximately $1500 (USD) and is constructed using volunteer labor and charitable contributions gathered by PTC3. The cost of each team member or participant is $1200 per person, which includes transportation, housing, and meals that is also covered by sponsorships or donations. As the years have passed, the team has gotten the construction down to a science. On the last mission the team was able to construct 20 homes in one week.
Preparations are underway for the 2023 mission in June. If you would like to know how to get involved, go to www.ptc3.com.
n Other Volunteer Opportunities
If you’d prefer to stay close to home but serve others in the community, there are plenty of other opportunities. Here are a few details about just a few organizations that are in the community and would gladly welcome any volunteers. Contact info about them can be found in the Volunteer Opportunities Listings at the bottom of the page.
Midwest Food Bank distributes food to smaller food banks in the area and always needs help packing food for delivery. It is a great team-building exercise for groups that are interested.
The Real Life Center serves residents of Fayette and Coweta Counties who have had challenges and need a helping hand. The goal of Real Life Center is to help those in need get “back on their feet” by providing basic short-term needs while helping the person set goals, develop an action plan, and connect with resources to achieve their goal of self-sustenance.
When MaryAnn Cox and Joan Velsmid began a fund-raiser to sell items donated to Holy Trinity Church, they had no idea it would end up being the first non-profit thrift shop in Peachtree City. It has expanded 3 times and is now known as Clothes Less Traveled. Their goal has always been to empower change in the community by giving away their profits through grants to local charities and scholarships. In 25 years they have given over 7 million dolars to over 100 charities. In 2022 they awarded 32 grants to local charities. Additionally, scholarships for high school volunteers are available. Seniors in high school that volunteer over 40 hours at the thrift shop are elible to apply for the scholarships.
If you’d like to volunteer or donate to charities in the area, see the list below for contact information.
Provides a safe, nurturing home for teen girls in crisis; 770-251-7050; theangelshouse.org
Camp Southern Ground
Over 400-acre facility in Fayette County to serve children of all abilities; 404-941-3480; For the camp or to volunteer: 678-561-9600 campsouthernground.org
Clothes Less Traveled Thrift Store
Thrift store offering gently-used clothing, household items and furniture; all proceeds are donated to local area charities.; 770-486-8517; clotheslesstraveled.org
CORRAL: Coweta Organization Riding Rehab & Learning
Provides therapeutic horseback riding facilities and instruction for the mentally and physically challenged; 770-254-0840; corraltrc.org
Coweta Senior Services
Promotes positive aging through support services and enrichment classes/programs; Patricia Hood: 770-252-6429,; email: phood@ coweta.ga.us • coweta.ga.us
Fayette Pregnancy Resource Center
Provides support for women, men and families facing an unplanned pregnancy; 770-719-2288; fayetteprc.com
Fayette Senior Services
Promotes positive aging through support services and enrichment classes/programs; 770-461-0813; fayss.org
Healing Bridge Clinic
Provides routine, non-emergency medical and nursing care to the uninsured in Fayette, Coweta and South Fulton counties; 770-681-0157; healingbridgeclinic.org
Lekotek of Georgia, Inc.
Conducts play/learning sessions in which adapted computer and educational materials are loaned to help infants and children with physical and/or cognitive disabilities; 404-633-3430; lekotekga.org
Midwest Food Bank - Georgia Division
Food bank ministry distributing food at no cost to social services agencies; 770-486-1103
Comprehensive domestic violence services for Fayette County; 770-460-1604; Hotline promiseplace.org
The Real Life Center
Helps those facing life’s unanticipated challenges; a variety of programs such as counseling financial assistance, food pantry/ clothes closet and career help 770-631-9334; reallifecenter.org
Royal Animal Refuge
Dedicated to working with the community, area shelters, and local rescue groups in developing a network of supporters and volunteers royalanimalrefuge.org
Southern Conservation Trust
Saves greenspaces for people and wildlife, owns and/or manages 1,600+ acres, including Flat Creek Nature Area, Line Creek Nature Area, Morgan Grove Nature Area, Sams Lake Bird Sanctuary and The Ridge Nature area 770-486-7774; sctlandtrust.org
Offers connections for families with special
needs children through social media, parent education and community outings 770-878-0526; southsidesupport.org
Wellspring Treasures Thrift Shop
Supports Wellspring Living, which confronts the issue of childhood sexual abuse and exploitation through treatment, education and advocacy programs for girls and women; Store: 770-632-1788, Volunteer: 770-631-8888; wellspringliving.org