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From left, Ryley Jurek, Eric Fisher and Duane Loewel enjoy their traditional Pennsylvania meal of Philadelphia Cheese Steak sandwiches, potato wedges, green beans, beverages and assorted Hershey's desserts. Jurek is one of the youth who went on the mission trip to Harrisburg, Penn.

Roberts UCC members get a 'taste of Pennsylvania'

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Around 50 members of Roberts United Church of Christ assembled Aug. 26 to have a meal of traditional Pennsylvania food, and to hear stories from the Roberts UCC Youth (RUCCY) about their recent mission trip to Harrisburg, Penn.

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Carrie Fisher, Roberts UCC youth leader, led the RUCCY mission trip to Harrisburg, Penn. Harrisburg is the capital of Pennsylvania, which is very near to the home of the Hershey's factory. Harrisburg is near bankrupt, said Fisher. RUCCY went to Harrisburg from June 29-July 7, and worked to help struggling families and individuals through Youth Works, a company that provides mission trip programs to individuals and groups.

Each of the RUCCY members present shared a story from the trip with the audience. The RUCCY members took turns presenting their stories to an accompanying PowerPoint following a video, made by RUCCY member Krysta Fisher.

Krysta Fisher and fellow member RUCCY Harley McDaniel also started the meal by leading the attendees in the "superman prayer," a prayer sung to the tune of the "Superman" theme song, complete with "Superman" arm motions.

Carrie Fisher said her favorite memory from the trip was getting to help with a memorial garden.

"A pastor started it because of a lot of gang violence," Fisher said.

Children often die in gang violence, and their parents aren't be able to afford a cemetery plot, so the children are buried far away, and the parents aren't be able to afford to visit the grave. The pastor created a memorial garden at which parents could have bricks placed in memory of their children, at the expense of the church. Fisher said it touched her the way the pastor turned an abandoned lot into something meaningful.

McDaniel said previously that one of her favorite experiences on the trip was the opportunity to help an 85-year-old woman and her large family with house and garden improvements.

"They thanked us by having a huge barbecue on the Fourth of July with us and their family," McDaniel said. "We got to really bond with the people and you got to hear how the economics really took a toll on them."

Carrie Fisher said RUCCY usually holds an event like A Taste of Pennsylvania after larger mission trips as a way to share the experience with the church community, and as a way to thank those who supported the trip financially.

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Gretta Stark
Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.
(715) 426-1048
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