An old adage says that charity begins at home.
A group of local volunteers is putting that proverb into action through generous donations of time, money and construction materials.
They’re building Bruce Brown a new house.
The Gleanings man lived in a small frame house at the edge of LaRue and Marion County for most of his life. The century-old house was in bad shape, he said, but he had mixed emotions when it was torn down a few weeks ago to make room for the new house.
“It was my home for 20 years, but the sooner it was gone, the sooner the other one would go up,” Bruce said. “I was glad to see it go because I knew what was coming up.”
Brown’s brother Gary and several other people from local churches are part of a volunteer organization called “Missionaries for Christ” that meets weekly at James Crume’s shop on Old E’town Road. Most of them are members at Buffalo Baptist Church. They find ways to help their neighbors, rather than concentrating on faraway relief efforts.
Recently, they were making repairs on an elderly woman’s residence and the subject of Bruce Brown’s home came up. At first, the men thought they would install a new roof on the house, according to Gary Brown.
“When we looked, we saw it was way beyond repair,” said Gary. “It wasn’t worth putting a new roof on. The best thing to do was build another one.”
Crume said the non-insulated house was leaking badly, had no indoor plumbing and was heated by a woodstove. He was using well water, but it was unfit for drinking.
“It was about to fall in on him,” Crume said.
David Tapp of L.K. Tapp & Sons provided a “good deal” on a building package and through word-of-mouth, other donations began pouring in. Other churches, businesses and individuals offered help.
“People found out what we were doing and why,” said Gary. “God opened their hearts and they started giving.”
His brother “couldn’t believe people he doesn’t even know care enough about him to do this,” said Gary. “He wondered how people could give their time up for this.”
When Bruce moves in the 768-square-feet house, he’ll have new appliances and cabinets for his kitchen and bathroom, linens, dishes and silverware, living room furniture and entertainment center. The house will be connected to a county water line and a volunteer has agreed to pay the monthly bill.
Not all the work is being done on site. For instance, volunteers have been refinishing the doors and cabinets in Crume’s shop.
Even the demolition and burial of the old house was completed by a volunteer.
Gary’s wife Lori said it is impossible to name all the donors. Most are from Buffalo Baptist but other churches are represented.
“We’ve been blessed and want to show the Lord’s love to others,” she said.
About 15 people have been driving to Gleanings each evening after work for about three weeks to assist with the project. A larger group comes on Saturdays. Usually, they eat lunch or supper at the worksite.
“It’s a real nice bunch helping,” Bruce said. “I don’t know all of them.”
He’s been staying with relatives while the house is under construction.
If you are interested in assisting with the project, contact Gary Brown at 268-4610.