Jesse Lee ASP launches '35 for 35' campaign

As Jesse Lee Appalachia Service Project embarks on its 35th year, the construction ministry hopes to deliver additional milestone support this summer from the Ridgefield community to those in need.

“Jesse Lee ASP 35 for 35” is a special fund-raising effort to collect donations of $35 to honor and celebrate the 35 years that Jesse Lee has sent volunteers to work in Appalachia.

The goal of “35 for 35” is 1,000 gifts of $35 or more, especially from former ASP participants, their parents and other supporters. The resulting $35,000 could fund construction of two homes, several new wells or whatever is deemed to be the greatest need for underprivileged families in Appalachia.

“Over our 35 years, more than 1,600 teens and adults from Ridgefield have participated in Jesse Lee ASP,” said Neal Bowes, youth minister of Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church. “If you were an ASP volunteer, or if you know someone who was an ASP volunteer, you know how a week in Appalachia changes the lives of the volunteers as much as it improves the lives of the folks whose homes we repair.”

The “35 for 35” appeal is a way to recognize Jesse Lee’s legacy in this milestone year, while also supporting the ASP mission, Bowes said.

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Bowes also asks local supporters to share the fund-raising effort with any former ASP participants who no longer live in Ridgefield.

In addition, to also celebrate the 35th year, all former participants in Jesse Lee ASP are invited to a reunion brunch immediately following the ASP worship service on Sun., July 15 at Jesse Lee.

Appalachia Service Project is a national Christian organization that sends volunteers on weeklong mission trips to make homes “warmer, safer and drier” in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina. Since ASP’s founding in 1969, more than 410,000 volunteers have worked to repair 18,300 homes.

Jesse Lee ASP has grown by gang-busters over the last several years to become the second-largest ASP group in the U.S. Last year, 199 teens and adults from the Ridgefield area participated.

Jesse Lee ASP will make its 2018 mission trip June 30-July 8. Learn more about the ministry at