Yesterday, my family and I got to help change someone’s life. Now that might sound like an big, unlikely thing, but it’s true.
We spent the day working with other iACT (Interfaith Action of Central Texas) volunteers to paint someone’s home. The woman who graciously allowed us to work with her on her home is a senior and a recent widow. Her husband had been ill and disabled for some time before he passed, so between time and lack of income, things on the home they had owned for three decades had fallen behind.
Her home repairs and painting were part of iACTS’ Hands On Housing program which brings together willing volunteers and skilled home repair professionals to “repair the homes of senior citizens and disabled individuals who are living in deep poverty.” Teams gather for work days at the clients’ homes, and fix them up so these struggling long-term residents can remain in their Central Texas homes, giving continuity to our neighborhoods.
So what was it like? It was wonderful! And hard. Our group of volunteers and professionals ranged in age from teens to 60+. There were lifetime locals, transplants and immigrants. There were Christians and Muslims and Jews. And everyone worked. We scraped and painted. We worked and we got to know each other. And we were blessed to get to know the homeowner, too. We all shared our stories from the tops of ladders, over pizza when we took a break to eat, and while we were stirring paint. We painted trim and shutters. We painted the sides and the back.
At the end of the day, the whole house was painted and beautiful. Earlier in the project, plumbing issues had been addressed. At the end of the project, a valuable member of Austin had a home she could once again safely live in with pride. And a group of strangers had gotten to know each other.
I am always amazed by the power of volunteer action to bring together people who might never otherwise meet. And to accomplish so much with so little time and limited resources. So yes, yesterday my family and I got to help change someone’s life. Thank you iACT! And thank you to the wonderful lady who invited us to her home to help.
iACT is a registered 501 (c)(3) non-profit. They work with faith communities and partner organizations throughout Central Texas. If you would like to get your faith community involved, volunteer for projects or donate your professional skills or building materials, new paint or make a monetary donation, please check out their website or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2921 E 17th Street
Building D, Suite 3
Austin, TX 78702