Volunteers gear up for Christmas in April - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Volunteers gear up for Christmas in April

April 27, 2006

Albany-- Hundreds of volunteers will spend this weekend fulfilling the dreams of homeowners. Rebuilding Together with Christmas in April will help 20 elderly or disabled people get their homes repaired with lots of labor and love.

If you're looking for Catherine Clements, you need only look one place. She's usually on her porch, rocking away in her chair. "Everyday, I don't stay in the house," says Clements.

She's lived in her home for more than a decade and she's proud of it. "I prayed hard for this house. I prayed every night, all through the night I wake up," says Clements.

But faith didn't prepare her for the changes homes go through. She was reminded of it everytime it rained. "Water was coming in here," says Clements, "it was pouring down like it pours down out in that yard."

So the same house that she prayed for years ago became the focus of even more prayers and dreams. "I said Jesus, I wish you'd come and help me because I couldn't do it by myself and that's what happened," says Clements.

Last Spring, volunteers with Rebuilding Together answered Clements prayers with Christmas in April. "Ooh, they did everything. They painted my room, the kitchen, put that fan right there," says Clements. They made a difference inside and outside.

"They dug that tree up and put them flowers and I was sitting right where I am now," says Clements. And Clements says all the work wasn't by chance.

"It was the Lord who sent them folks. That's who sent them. It was him," says Clements. A year later, she still remembers her April gift of a new home but she jokes that the home is much older than she is.

"You know how old I done got? 80 years old, turned 80 the 6th of this month," says Clements. A birthday balloon still floats beside her at her everyday position on the porch but also floating in her head is last year's Christmas in April.

"Yes sir, it was a good one too," laughs Clements.

Thursday night, volunteers kicked off this year's Christmas in April with what they call Christmas Eve supper to gear up for their life-changing work. Rebuilding Together honored the 20 homeowners who'll receive repairs this year.

Churches, businesses and other volunteer groups were also honored for giving time and money to the projects. On Saturday, more than 200 people will make repairs to homes all over Albany. Volunteers say the outcome is worth the hard work.

"It's just amazing to see their eyes, the excitement, the overwhelming love and support for everyone thats been there. It just touches your heart. It really does," says Joe Blanton.

A few homes have already been done. The homes are sponsored by different groups including the Boys and Girls Club, Phoebe Community Visions and Byne Memorial Baptist Church.

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