Shirley White became a double amputee in January due to complications from diabetes, and East Cooper Meals on Wheels came to her aid soon after. While the diabetic-friendly meals were helping her adjust to life after surgery, her quality of life was still suffering because her home wasn’t built to accommodate a wheelchair. The day that Kurtz Smith of St. Andrews Men’s Ministry delivered meals to Shirley became a turning point.
“I was interested in learning more about East Cooper Meals on Wheels, so I rode along with Chris Brooks when he delivered meals,” says Kurtz. “I went to put her meals in the kitchen, but Shirley asked me not to because her wheelchair was too wide to fit through the doorway. I discovered that she had not been able to get into either her kitchen or bathroom since January.”
Kurtz felt called to do something about Shirley’s challenges, and he knew that his Men’s Life Group at St. Andrews would feel equally compelled to make a difference. He says Life Groups are all about being there for each other in fellowship, prayer and support, as well as being there for others when an opportunity presents itself. The call to help Shirley improve her living conditions is one that they chose not to ignore, and the group recently spent two days making modifications to her home.
The group did more than widen the entrances to Shirley’s bathroom and kitchen. They also installed doors on her bedroom and bathroom, both of which previously just had a hanging sheet for privacy, and trimmed out all the work around the doors. They even installed an air conditioner in her family room, whereas before only one of her bedrooms had an A/C unit. Shirley couldn’t be more grateful.
“It didn’t take them much time at all to do the work,” Shirley said. “It was such a nice thing for them to do.”
The Men’s Life Group enjoyed getting to know Shirley, her daughter and her two grandchildren while they were helping out, and the team is proud to have shared their faith through their actions.
“It was an honor and privilege to do the Lord’s work by helping Shirley out, and we appreciated the opportunity,” says Kurtz.
Needs like this occur often with our recipients. Sometimes the right people are in the right place at the right time and the response is quick, just like it was between Kurtz and Shirley. Sometimes the resources just haven’t been available for us to make difference.
While our primary focus is on delivering daily nutrition, we do advocate for our recipients and try to connect them with other groups or programs that can offer assistance. We’re excited that through a new partnership with the East Cooper Ecumenical Network (ECEN), we’ll be able to help more of our recipients improve their living conditions. Leaky roofs, broken windows and deteriorating wheelchair ramps will all be repaired as the group is able. If your church, civic group or co-workers would like to be involved in ECEN’s Fix It Forum, please contact LaBruce Trammell at firstname.lastname@example.org.