Volunteers tackle home projects throughout metro-east

News-DemocratApril 26, 2014 

Volunteers with Bethel Baptist Church in Troy paint the garage of Ethel Branch in Venice as part of all-day program "Christmas in April" hosted by Rebuilding Together.

DAN KELLEY — dkelley@bnd.com Buy Photo

About 30 volunteers with Bethel Baptist Church in Troy scraped off old paint and applied new to exterior and interior portions of Ethel Branch's home in Venice on Saturday.

The volunteers were part of an all-day program called Christmas in April, which helps low-income and disabled residents with a host of home repairs and maintenance. The program is coordinated and funded by the nonprofit group Rebuilding Together based in Madison. The group provides materials and coordinates volunteers to help residents who are unable to tackle home and yard repairs in Madison, Jersey and St. Clair counties.

Volunteers from Scott Air Force Base and a host of churches helped residents tackle home repairs at eight homes in Venice, Granite City, Alton and East St. Louis on Saturday. The group annually completes projects ranging from painting to constructing ramps for disabled residents, according to Marianne James with Rebuilding Together.

Branch thanked the volunteers, mostly middle and high school students, for their work during a break in the afternoon.

"I appreciate everything everybody did," Branch said. "You did a great job."

John Shaw with Bethel Baptist said the volunteers should be proud of their work.

"This is what Christ was about, helping those in need. ... It's about helping the 'least of these' and following his example. We minister to people by giving of ourselves," Shaw said.

Shaw references a Bible verse in which Jesus Christ asks Christians to help those in need.

Rebuilding Together usually repairs about 35 homes during Christmas in April but a lack of funding caused the group to scale back the program, James said.

The group plans to repair additional homes this summer in East St. Louis and another large-scale day of volunteering in the fall.

HOW TO HELP

Rebuilding Together, a nonprofit group based in Madison, helps low-income and disabled residents with home repairs. Anyone interested in volunteering or donating can call Rebuilding Together at 618-876-4578.

Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at dkelley@bnd.com or 618-239-2501.

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