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Widow’s Critical Repair Perfect Model for Habitat-Church Partnership

Cynthia poses with her volunteers.

The need is great, and costly to meet. You and your spouse worked hard to own your home. But, what do you do when you have a safety issue that requires a repair that, in your senior years, you can’t afford to make?

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton’s Critical Repair Program may be able to help. Part of the program is the “Faith Family Fixes,” where a church can respond to a critical need for a local resident on its own or with another faith group.

A perfect example of how that works is the recent critical repair at the home of Springfield’s Cynthia Harshaw. Cynthia was shopping at Habitat’s new Springfield ReStore, 2990 Derr Rd., when she was introduced to the program, applied and waited. She needed a repair on her back deck stairs, which were so unsafe that she couldn’t use them. Habitat needed to find the funding to cover the materials for the repair.

Stepping up to provide the funding was Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Springfield.

“It is wonderful gift to receive something like this,” she said. “It was so exciting for me, to know that the Lord would take care of me like this. I want to send them a nice thank you card.”

You’re welcome, but no thanks is necessary, said Grace Pastor Tom Brodbeck.

“Our church has a long history of being actively engaged in filling the needs of the community since its beginnings and this was a lady who looked like someone who needed our help,” he said. “We were happy to do it for her. Grace has been on board with Habitat since its earliest stages and has enjoyed this partnership over these many years.”

Cynthia spoke about how difficult it was for her to find help.

“I’ve been through so many different avenues trying to get help and couldn’t find any,” she said. “Insurances don’t do as much for you when you are retired. When we get older, we have illness and can’t do the things we once could. Habitat and the church have been a godsend for me. As long as people are patient, they can get some help with Habitat. This was God’s timing. It was nothing but the Lord.”

Our volunteers not only did the repair. They educated her as well and pitched in and helped on another project inside the home.

“I have gotten some great pointers to take care of my home better,” she said. “Sometimes workers aren’t as patient like that. A lot of time, in my experience, contractors don’t like women asking questions.”

Cynthia is so thankful for the Habitat ReStore coming into her neighborhood.

“I love it. I can just do my whole house over, plus the people are wonderful there,” she said. “People are ready to donate. This store is so beautiful. When I talk to people, I tell them that Habitat is helping me get my home restored. There’s so many wonderful things in there. It’s been a blessing to me.”

Others around her are taking notice.

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