HARVIN COLUMN: Summer is time to help out others and you only have to go to Johns Island to do it
It's summer and time to help someone else out.
Whether it's your neighbor who needs help with cutting some branches, your community park that is holding a fundraiser or your church that is helping out people who don't have the resources to help themselves, it's time to get involved.
Rural Mission on Johns Island is one of those agencies that is always in need of extra help. They don't have a lot of money, yet they hear from people who are in the deepest poverty on the Sea Islands.
Linda Gadson, executive director, has worked for years to find volunteers to help people fix homes that are in desperate need of repairs: holes in floors, unusable rooms, ancient furniture, no running water or sewer.
In a recent case, Mary Blake, an elderly resident of the Yonge's Island community known as Oakville, tried for years to get housing assistance from Rural Mission. The mobile home she lived in was too far beyond repair, and while several groups looked at her project, they said what she needed was a new home. Her daughter, Rose Faust, kept up the requests after she started caring for her mother.
Finally, Rural Mission received a phone call. Bertha Lindfors was willing to donate a mobile home after she sold some property, and she agreed to share in the cost of moving it.
A group of volunteers from First United Methodist Church in Crawfordsville, Ind., came in and paid the moving company. The group is celebrating 25 years of work with Rural Mission this year. Now that's dedication.
The list of volunteers helping with this project is long and shows how just getting one piece of the job done can help others with their donations of time and talent.
Blake's old home had to be demolished and hauled away. Charleston County already had installed a new well and septic tank. Christ UMC of Greensboro, N.C., worked with the demolition and removal of the old home; CarMax of Charleston helped with clearing the ground and making preparations for the new home; and First UMC of Crawfordsville is working to complete the transformation. Steve Austin of Edisto donated three rooms of reused hardwood flooring.
What amazes me is looking at the list of volunteers who came to work with Rural Mission for a week or two weeks at a time. The nearest group was from Columbia, with many of the other groups coming from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida and Indiana. These are church groups that pay their own expenses and come in the broiling heat to do work that often is heavy labor.
Chris Brooks, who is in charge of program development at Rural Mission, says there is still a lot to do on the house, and he can use volunteers of all kinds. The staff will teach people what to do, and you don't need to be from out of state to help.
In the case of Blake, it's going to be about a month before the home is ready for her, but she also needs to furnish the home. The furniture from her old house also was unusable, so Rural Mission is looking for donations of all sorts to fill the home.
The good part about helping out at Rural Missions is that you are helping people in your own backyard, and you can still go home and sleep in your own bed after a hard day's work. No need for a road trip, except to Yonge's Island.
If you want more information about Rural Missions, go to ruralmission.org.
Reach Stephanie Harvin at email@example.com or 937-5557.