Who Serves Whom?
Mitzi Gellman, Executive Director
I treasure warm winter days like crown jewels. After living my entire life in North Carolina, I’ve grown accustomed to expecting 40-degree winter days and complaining about how cold it is.
Following a brutal few days of temperatures in the teens, I slipped out before 5pm on a day when it reached 50 degrees. As I walked through the office door and was halfway to my car, another car drove up and the passenger rolled down her window. She asked if this was the office where she should drop off her application. In a hurry to get home and walk my dog, I smiled and said, “sure, right through that door and up the stairs.”
She smiled and then I realized that she was on oxygen and unable to drive, much less climb a flight of stairs. I stopped and walked over to her car and asked how I could help. In a few short minutes I learned that she lived in an older home, she had recently heard about Habitat Repairs! and that she needed help.
For the next several minutes we talked, I took her paperwork upstairs to Gail for processing. Then I went back down to her car and asked to borrow her NC ID for the application. Another trip back up the stairs to the copier, then back down again to the car, followed by one more trip up and down for something I forgot.
On this trip I asked what type of repairs she needed. Her friend allowed that she really needed a ramp, so she could get into her house safely. I asked about her heating system. “Oh, it’s fine,” she said. “But my roof is in bad shape and the gutters are rotted out.”
“Ok, that’s good. We can help with those things,” I replied.
Then she looked at me and with a smile on her face, but a tear in her eye she asked, “how much will it cost?” From the look on her face it was an answer she didn’t want to know.
I explained that it was complicated, but that it would be something that she could afford. Then I smiled but had a tear in my eye. “Don’t worry, we’ll sort it out, but we can make it work.”
We talked a little longer about how her house was once her grandmother’s and how important it was to her. While we talked I barely noticed that the sun was setting, and the temperatures were cooling off. After all, trips up and down the stairs are as good as a walk. Right?
Scenes like this are repeated nearly every day at Habitat’s office. Through new homeownership with house construction to repairs on aging, existing homes, Habitat restores dignity and creates self-reliance, AND we do it ALL with your help.