Student-athletes enjoy mission of helping others


TKA student-athletes enjoy mission of helping others

FLORENCE, S.C. — King’s Academy students were hard at work at OM Ships International, sorting boxes.

And sorting books — lots of books on this early Friday afternoon — before putting them in those boxes.

But they were doing it for more reasons than simply getting out of class. This was to help others — on this day, those who aim to deliver Christian literature throughout the world.

OM Ships International, in which Florence is its American base, is behind Logos Hope. Its ship ministry began in 1970 as part of the global Christian training and outreach movement, OM International. Since then, OM’s ships have visited more than 480 different ports in 151 countries and territories and welcomed more than 47 million visitors on board.

That’s what made these student-athletes the MVP on this day, according to Andy Davies, literature director at OM Ships.

“When we get small groups like this, that makes a huge difference,” Davies said. “Fifteen kids in one hour can do what it would take me two days to do. And for these kids to spend their time helping us is very meaningful. They’re doing this for a really great cause.”

And that, in tone with the theme this whole week — is helping hands helping others.

“It makes me feel like I have a purpose when I’m doing this,” said TKA’s Leah Moya-Mendez, a Lion cheerleader and soccer player. “Helping others means caring more about others and putting them first before yourself.”

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Carter Fox, a junior who plays football and soccer and has been helping OM Ships as part of TKA since the sixth grade, agrees.

“It’s just a good feeling to get out in the community and give back,” Fox said. “You’re out there doing stuff for others that — if you were in their position — you would appreciate it if they were doing this for you.”

After boxing an estimated 90 books to that point, Fox talked more about how cathartic volunteer work can be.

“To help others, that makes you feel even better,” he said.

Lions athletic director/football coach Keith Rogers could not be prouder.

“Our opportunities to help were delayed because of COVID-19, so this is our first day getting out to help,” Rogers said. “We have volunteers at different places like here and House of Hope. We try to help out at as many places as we can.”

With that in mind, OM Ships volunteer coordinator Joye Allen said more volunteers are encouraged.

“We need volunteers very desperately because a lot of our international folks who normally come here to help can’t right now because of COVID-19,” she said. “Even if volunteers can come for one afternoon to help, that would help us so much.

“We also have a ‘Community Saturday’ on the first Saturday of each month, from 9 a.m. until noon here,” she added. “We could use your help.”

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