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Happy, joyful children and a sense of community. That’s what a church group found in Calcutta this summer.

Nineteen teens and adults from New Hope Fellowship Christian Reformed Church in Monroe, Wash., and Family of Faith CRC in Kennewick, Wash., visited India and Thailand.

Through a physician in his church, Rev. Rob Jansons, pastor of New Hope Fellowship, had connected with a Calcutta native whose ministry is devoted to helping street children in Calcutta break the cycle of poverty. Once there, the team led vacation Bible school programs in mobile schools.

Before the group left, a Sunday school collection called “Quarters for Calcutta” raised $1,600 to provide lunch to Calcutta’s street children.

Katy Roosendaal, 16, from Richland, Wash., realized the significance of giving one quarter when she saw one boy receive his lunch and run to meet his sibling. “I got the feeling that not only would that meal feed the child for a day, it would feed his family,” she said.

The group also brought money for tarps to shelter refugees who escaped to Thailand from Burma. Shannon Slager, a teacher from Bellingham, Wash., said she actually prayed that the group would not be allowed into the refugee camp; now she said the visit “was a highlight of the trip.”

Jansons said the trip was “absolutely worth it!”

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