Local News

Workcamp Volunteers Repair Houses For Elderly, Disabled

Posted July 23, 2001 3:43 a.m. EDT

— About 400 teenagers and adults are up to their ears in home improvements this week. The out-of-state campers are here to help elderly and disabled people who cannot afford to help themselves.

The top of a ladder is not where most of us would choose to spend a vacation, but it is the perfect spot for Tricia Hornsby of Chicago and Matt Brackett of Maine. Both traveled hundreds of miles to help people they do not even know.

"It's been so much fun talking to them. They've showed us pictures of their families and it's been great just to talk to them and help them out," said Hornsby.

"The residents, they've been really nice to us. They've brought out water and iced tea. They've shown us pictures of their families," said Brackett.

They are here as part of Group Workcamps, a Christian foundation that offers elderly, disabled and low income people free home repairs. Thursday, they were at Mary Richardson's house in Halifax County.

"I wouldn't try it on my own. I'd have to get someone to do it, and I'm very proud that they've come by and are doing it for me," said Richardson.

On top of all the work they are doing, these students had to pay their own way to come here, hundreds of dollars in some cases. They relied on their local churches or fundraisers to get the money.

"Some did spaghetti dinners, collected aluminum cans, some had raffles, car washes. It's not just coming here for a week. It's a whole year-long process to get here," said Group Workcamps staffer Carol Van de Casteele.

The volunteers work hard to get here, then do more work. But these students say they are happy to help fill a need that might not be met any other way.

The students are spending the week at Northwest Halifax High School. Once they are done Saturday, they hope to have finished work for 65 people.