“It was their idea to come up with a concert,” said Maggie Richter, vice lead for St. Joseph’s Youth Commission.
Souled Out’s idea has come together with the SOS (Sold Out for Sandy) Concert. The benefit concert is set for 7 to 9:30 p.m. tonight, Nov. 17 at Millbrook Plaza, at the corner of Milwaukee and Park Avenue (the old Cook’s Memorial Library).
Tickets are $5. All proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims.
Local high school bands Culprit Clan and The Escapers are performing. The bands donated their time for the cause, said Nancy Devroy, director of youth ministry.
Hurricane Sandy hit the East coast late last month and hit areas of New Jersey and New York particularly hard. Some families still do not have power, according to published reports.
“The kids were saying `we want to do this, we want to help,’” Ritcher said.
“Kids are idealistic, they really are,” Devory said. “They want a good world, then we grow up and we forget that.”
Souled Out has a core group of 20 to 25 teens who attend regularly and plan events. One project was the Homeless Box event last October where the ministry planned an overnight stay in the church’s parking lot and teens had to sleep in boxes to understand what it’s like to be homeless, Ritcher said.
The teens also made meals for people at a local PADS shelter, she said. The ministry had to turn teens away because the event was so popular, she said.
In September, the ministry raised $300 to send to Moshi, Tanzania, Africa, so children in that town could have meat with their meals, Deroy said.
Next summer, the Youth Ministry will be going to the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky to help families there with a variety of things, including construction, she said. So far, 80 teens are going, she said.
“What is really cool is when they do this service there is so much joy,” Devroy said. “They connect with a part of themselves they didn’t know.”
“It makes them feel good about helping and helps them grow and mature and be productive people,” Ritcher said. “I’ve been amazed that they will be giving up a week of their summer.”
The trip to the Appalachian Mountains is tough, Devroy said. “The people you meet are so impoverished, you can’t believe it’s America. Some (homes) don’t have floors or running water. The kids who come back have their eyes open.”
Both Devroy and Ritcher said the volunteerism gives teens a strong foundation.
“We are hoping this foundation helps them as they go out in the world with their feet grounded in their faith,” Ritcher said.
“For me, it’s rejuvenating,” Ritcher said of seeing the spirit of volunteerism and caring in teens. “The kids are our future in terms of our work and our faith.”