Thursday, February 22, 2007
Churches assist homeless family
By SUE WATSON
Largely due to one man’s efforts, a family of four who has been living at New Hope Village shelter will soon have a home in Potts Camp.
The family will be living next door to Mary Reid School, where the children will attend classes.
Jerry Moore Sr. was instrumental in finding shelter for the family after enlisting his church family, Holly Springs Church of Christ, and the Potts Camp Church of Christ to help make the mobile home livable.
Moore said he was contacted by a family in Benton County about three months ago that the mother and her three children would be dropped off at the shelter.
“They said she needed some groceries,” he said.
The children are 3, 7 and 9 years old.
The units at the village are way too small for a family of four, so Moore said he began to look for affordable housing but could find none in the county that didn’t have a long waiting list. Finally he located a mobile home for rent in Potts Camp. But it needed fixing up and from there the churches decided to do what they could to help this family.
Moore said his main concern was that the children, who were each about a year behind in their reading level, get settled and up to grade level in reading. The mother is legally blind.
“You have to be able to read to get an education,” he said. “That’s the real motivation behind it - to get these kids in school.”
Moore is well acquainted with the school. Kristi Reid, a daughter, and Wendy Moore, a daughter-in-law, teach at the school and Leigh Ann Sanderson, a niece, is principal.
“The school will help catch the family up,” he said.
Moore said Marilyn Curry, executive director at the shelter, pled for help with locating the family.
“She said the thing the mother needs most is a place to live,” he said
The rental property is owned by J.M. “Flick” Ash, who agreed to donate the first two months rent to get the project started, Moore said.
The water pipes were leaking like sieves because the water had not been turned off and pipes had burst in lots of places. Moore said he thinks most of the water pipes should be replaced.
The carpet was worn out and the interior needed a uniform coat of paint. Moore said he wants to be sure the cooking stove is safe and the refrigerator looked like it might be in working order but there were no racks.
The Holly Springs and Potts Camp Churches of Christ agreed to pay the cost of materials while the Lone Oak Church of Christ in Paducah, Ky, supplied the know how and everything a family needs to get a start - food, bedding, furniture, clothing and some appliances.
As work proceeded Monday on stripping out old carpet and preparing surfaces, District 5 Supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett was asked for help. He agreed to take responsibility for hauling off the stripped out carpet and other wastes and to buy a toilet, then went to work with the men.
Jack Clayton with the Paducah group said his congregation is no stranger when it comes to helping people recover or rehabilitate their living quarters.
“We all are retired and do something like this several days a week unless we are on the golf course,” he said. “Our congregation has sent groups to Katrina.”
The Paducah group traveled to Ocean Springs four or five times following Hurricane Katrina, sent one group to Pascagoula, and sent one to a neighborhood near New Orleans, La.
The benevolent group makes two mission trips to McAllen, Texas, each year taking a youth group and sponsors - about 30 in all - to do structure repair.
“Our congregation supports us with money and supplies and some of our building supply places donated supplies,” Clayton said. “We have enough carpet, tile and paint to do the whole thing.”
Clayton said he has been involved in this mission work for about four years. The work group has its own heating and air technician. Most of the others are not professional carpenters.
Other community members visited Monday to lend moral support or to actually get their hands dirty. Jimmy Waddle of Temperance Hill Baptist Church, also a retiree, pitched in along with Les Sternberg, Billy Wessell, Carlin Cook and John Deming from Paducah; Dale May and Ralph Clayton with the Holly Springs and Potts Camp Churches of Christ, respectively; and Leigh Ann Sanderson, Mary Reid principal, and Elaine McMillen, secretary.
The Paducah group planned to sleep at the Potts Camp Church of Christ building, Moore said. The men were brought cookies and crackers, drinks and bologna and bread for lunch Monday.
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