By Dennis Allen, LWYL Mission Coordinator
Over the last 7 years CRUMC has reached out to over 40 homeowners who requested help to bring their homes and yards up to City standards. These homeowners found themselves in need of assistance due to low or fixed incomes, and/or advanced age or a physical condition limiting what work they could do for themselves.
This fall, working through the LWYL program of the City of Plano, Custer Roadvolunteers reached out to an 86-year-old single woman located in the oldest neighborhood in Plano -The Douglass Community. After spending over a year in rehabilitation from major back surgery, she returned home to find things on the outside of her home needed some major maintenance. Now handicap with the use of a walker and limited funds, she needed help getting her home and property back in acceptable condition. This not only would help her, but would help her historic neighborhood continue to keep its outward conditions the pride of the east Plano community.
Miss Cynthia is widely known and loved in her community. Her home is over 100 years old and was bought by her parents at the turn of the century. She has lived in the house all her life. The house is a modest structure which was common in rural communities in the day, built by working people around cotton farming and cattle ranching. Back in the early ‘70s, the streets were still unpaved and some of the homes were in sad condition, but homeowners like Miss Cynthia were the glue that kept the community pride alive. The Douglass Community has since seen many improvements, including paved streets, three churches and an active community center. In that spirit, her backyard was a meeting place for kids and neighborhood BBQs. You cannot meet and spend a few minutes with Miss Cynthia and not be affected by her love of people and Jesus Christ.
Led by David Lucas and Tony Hairston, 20 volunteers provided their time and labor to help Miss Cynthia make the improvements to the house and yard required to bring her home back up to the standards she needed for her property. This included replacing material in 9 screens, repairing hail damage to the siding, repairing and painting a valued storage shed, trimming shrubs, trees, and ornamental areas around the house. We also replaced chair cushions around a central table in the backyard that had been ruined by weather during her long absence. Most important, we installed anti-skid material on the back porch and ramp so she will feel safer in using them in the future.
In addition to our project home in this community, CRUMC provided 11 volunteers to help with the community cleanup by picking up trash along the streets. This included two families of 4 where the kids got a chance to work on behalf of Christ right here in Plano, Texas.
As coordinator of this important mission for CRUMC, I have seen the presence of the Holy Spirit at work with our volunteers and the property owners, but nothing like what I witnessed on this Saturday morning. We are always looking for examples of how the Spirit works through Christ’s followers and there was not a better example than the one we witnessed on this LWYL Work Day. We are reminded that helping a neighbor is not about the work, but all about the neighbor.
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