Volunteers spend week helping others in Jasper
by Briana Webster
Jul 24, 2013 | 1897 views | 0 0 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Members of the youth group from Starkdale Presbyterian Church of Steubenville, Ohio, work at Barbara Williams’ home in Jasper Tuesday. The group spent 14 hours on the road Monday en route to Jasper to volunteer with the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Birmingham’s ‘Students for Change’ project. Other volunteer groups have come from Elon, N.C., Hoover and Pelham to join groups from Jasper’s Northside Baptist Church and Farmstead Baptist Church in doing work at homes in need of repair. Daily Mountain Eagle photo - Ron Harris
Members of the youth group from Starkdale Presbyterian Church of Steubenville, Ohio, work at Barbara Williams’ home in Jasper Tuesday. The group spent 14 hours on the road Monday en route to Jasper to volunteer with the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Birmingham’s ‘Students for Change’ project. Other volunteer groups have come from Elon, N.C., Hoover and Pelham to join groups from Jasper’s Northside Baptist Church and Farmstead Baptist Church in doing work at homes in need of repair. Daily Mountain Eagle photo - Ron Harris
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Even though storms raged through Walker County Tuesday afternoon, they didn’t dampen the spirit of homeowner Barbara Williams.

“It’s a blessing, and I’m just glad we have programs and things like this to help people like myself,” Williams said, “because without them our places would be run down.” 

The program Williams referred to is Habitat for Humanity’s new initiative called “Students for Change.” It is a “youth-oriented revitalization project” that helps homeowners in various communities throughout the United States who are in great need of repairs to their homes. Some homes may only need a fresh coat of paint while others may need an entire makeover.

Early Tuesday morning, volunteers from far and wide came and donated their time to help put a smile on a few appreciative faces, such as Williams and Martha Ford, another homeowner.

“It’s amazing. It’s really nice to see the spirit of giving back,” said Beth Bradner, vice president of marketing and development at Greater Birmingham Habitat for Humanity. “Last year, we had over 17,000 volunteers, so that gives you a perspective of what’s in our area. We certainly couldn’t do it without volunteers.” 

Volunteers not only came from the Jasper area but also from Hoover and Ohio.

John Justice, youth pastor at Disciples Fellowship in Birmingham, brought along four young members to help out with the renovations.

Justice said, “We wanted to do something in our own community, so we’ve been doing a week-long thing. We’ve done Habitat for two days; we’ve done the Ronald McDonald House, Jessie’s Place, just a lot of places in town to kind of expose the kids to other service organizations and hopefully teach that they can serve at home.” 

Fourteen-year-old Anna Grace Breedlove was busy painting Ford’s house before lightning brought an end to the day’s good samaritan work. “I have fun doing this kind of stuff. I went to Honduras over the summer and I really enjoyed that... It makes me thankful for what I have,” Breedlove giggled shyly.

Some drove 14 hours to give their assistance to others in need. Priscilla Ofca and her son, Gabriel, came with other members of Starkdale Presbyterian Church from Steubenville, Ohio.

She said ever since her sons were younger, she had always wanted to get them involved in some type of mission work. “I just think it’s an honor to be able to help people out. I love what they (Habitat for Humanity) do and I love what they’re about. It’s amazing how people can come together.

“It really touches my heart because sometimes you feel like you’re the only one in the world and that there’s no one left that’s going to do any good, and then you see people raise up,” Ofca said.

Volunteers are still greatly needed for Friday and Saturday. Bradner also said additional volunteers are needed for next Tuesday, July 30, and Wednesday, July 31, if the weather doesn’t cooperate today.

The four site locations are as follows: 565 Highway 269, Jasper; 1208 10th Ave., Jasper; 2401 Corona Ave., Jasper; and 3107 6th Ave., Jasper.

Everyone agreed that the home repairs were a “blessing.” Even if the renovations came five years down the road, Williams happily smiled and said, “All the years I’ve been waiting, God started blessing me... and this is my blessing. I just thank God and thank these workers for what they’re doing, not just for me, but for everyone that needs the help.

“It took a long time, about five years, but I never lost the faith or had a doubt that it wasn’t going to be done.”