Sometimes the needs of our recipients go beyond daily nutrition. While the meal and the visit from the volunteer makes a big difference, our recipients often need more assistance to remain living in their own homes. Those projects – repairing broken windows, patching a roof or fixing a leaky faucet – often require skilled labor and someone familiar with the current building code, as well as the resources to purchase supplies and equipment.
With these needs in mind, East Cooper Meals on Wheels, along with East Cooper Community Outreach and East Cooper Habitat for Humanity, reached out to East Cooper Ecumenical Network (ECEN) for help. ECEN is a network of many churches in the area that want to be a catalyst for positive action in the community. They feel that working together allows them to have a bigger impact than going at it alone, so the Fix It Forum was born. The 40 members of the Fix It Forum Response Team work to prioritize the needs of our recipients, organize the intake/output funnel, manage volunteer organization and solicit material donations and funding.
For our recipients, these needs are not just about aesthetics. A rotten porch floor or doors that can’t be locked create both physical safety issues and security issues. Since June 2013, 30 volunteers have teamed up to build three wheelchair ramps and to repair the porch at Dorothy Dupree’s house.
Norm McNair is a route driver for East Cooper Meals on Wheels, and Mrs. Dupree is one of the recipients that he delivers meals to each week. Just as the Fix It Forum was getting organized, Norm brought the need to the attention of the group and Mrs. Dupree’s home was added to the priority list. Working together with Christ Church and Operation Home, the Fix It volunteers were able to fully stabilize Mrs. Dupree’s porch, making it safer for her and the volunteers who deliver her meals each day.
David McNair, ECEN Leadership Team Chair, is proud of the new partnership and looks forward to doing more.
He says, “The East Cooper Ecumenical Network is long name with a very simple focus. It is the pulling together of faith-based organizations whose collaborative work can be a stronger statement of action in our community. The Fix It Forum is an ECEN initiative that works in partnership with folks like East Cooper Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, Operation Home and East Cooper Community Outreach. Along with about 20 churches in the East Cooper area, we can muster the expertise and hands-on volunteers needed to respond to a vast need for small home repairs that have been long unattended. It’s such a positive force to be around people who never say ‘who’s job is that?’, or worse yet…’that’s not our job’. With the Fix It team, it’s all about getting it done.”
Thank you to our friends at East Cooper Meals on Wheels for publishing this article in their Fall 2013 newsletter.