Jesse Lee ASP’s 2020 mission trip is canceled, following the national Appalachia Service Project organization’s disappointing but understandable decision to forgo its summer volunteer program.

The cancellation affects about 280 Ridgefield-area teens and adults registered for the 2020 mission trip, which had been scheduled for June 27-July 5. Even worse, it means help is not coming for more than 6,000 homeowners in Appalachia who had applied to ASP for home-repair assistance this summer.

Appalachia Service Project is a national Christian organization that provides volunteer home repair in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina. This would have been the 37th year for Jesse Lee ASP, which is the second-largest local ASP organization in the U.S.

“This was a very very difficult decision,” said Walter Crouch, national CEO of ASP, in a video statement. “Our main motivation here is that we do not want ASP to be used in any way to facilitate the spread of this deadly virus, especially to central Appalachia, where many of our homeowners are part of vulnerable populations in an area where the health care isn’t always the best.”

Volunteers who were registered for this year’s Jesse Lee ASP trip should have received emails explaining options regarding funds they raised, including the choice of letting the money remain as tax-deductible donations. Jesse Lee ASP will send that money to the na-tional ASP headquarters in Tennessee to help sustain its now-threatened year-round opera-tion, while also retaining some dollars to fund the construction of wheelchair ramps needed locally.

Jesse Lee ASP also is hoping to raise funds by reviving its familiar Saturday car washes in front of its home base — Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church on Main Street - once social-distancing rules are relaxed.

“For those who have gone on ASP before, we know the joy that the trips bring, and to this year’s first-timers, we are sad that your ASP experience is delayed,” said Steve Coppock of Jesse Lee ASP. “But we do hope to still present opportunities to serve — such as the car washes and wheelchair ramp-building sessions - and also to celebrate our four-year high-school seniors, when it’s finally safe to do so.”

For more details, including ways to donate funds to help support ASP through this unprec-edented time, go online to www.jesseleeasp.org.