In 2009, Americans Helping Americans® and our partners repaired homes for over 85 individuals and families living in houses in terrible disrepair.
Bill*, just like so many of our neighbors in Appalachia, has struggled against terrible odds. Living in Jefferson City, Tennessee, Bill is a single father, raising his three kids with a minimum wage job as his only source of income. Despite this, Bill’s children are growing up happy and healthy thanks to his hard work and unconditional love. Bill’s house, though, was not providing a nurturing living environment for his kids.
Bill’s house was in shambles when the volunteers first arrived. It was small, lacked a functioning bathroom, and was in need of a number of repairs. The house had only two bedrooms for one parent, two growing boys and one girl. An army of 19 volunteers were assigned the enormous task of turning Bill’s house back into a home.
With supplies provided by Americans Helping Americans® supporters, the volunteers put on a new roof, replaced the siding that was falling off, completely remodeled the bathroom and the boys’ room, made major repairs to the kitchen, installed a new front door, rebuilt the front porch and stairs and added a deck to the rear of the house. Most of the work was completed in four days.
At the end of the week, Sarah*, the middle child in the family who is just 10 years old, asked one of the volunteers to wait just a minute. “I’ve got to get something, just let me go look,” she said. While waiting, the volunteer could hear her scurrying about the house in obvious pursuit of some unfound object. She reappeared with a small pack of cookies in her hand, and proclaimed, “I looked all over the house for some money to give you, but I couldn’t find any. But I found these. I just want to say thanks.”
With each nail driven and every paintbrush stroke, the children’s faces grew brighter. Bill wept as he felt so wonderfully blessed by these caring volunteers. When the volunteers returned the following week to check on the family, they found a clutter-free environment that reflected the newly acquired hope for the future, thanks to the partnership of Americans Helping Americans® supporters, Appalachian Outreach and Big Creek People in Action.
*The names of family members have been changed to protect their privacy