Photo by Heather Middleton
By Johnny Jackson
Organizers of the "McDonough Project" are hoping for a significant turnout this year, as area volunteers are being asked to assist in several home-repair projects in Henry County.
"We've got three days to complete all of them," said Shane Persaud, project coordinator for Project McDonough and a member of the Atlanta Fuller Center for Housing's board of directors.
The McDonough Project is a component of the Atlanta Fuller Center for Housing, which aims to provide home repairs for needy families and organizations. Persaud said volunteers will be asked to tackle eight home-repair projects, between June 24 and June 26.
He noted that the McDonough Project has, so far, been successful. Volunteers completed 16 projects last year, during the inaugural year of the initiative.
"Since last year, I believe the word has been spread about the Fuller Center and what its mission is," he said. "There is a need in Henry County, and we feel that we can be a self-sustaining organization that addresses the need in Henry County.
"That's also in line with [Fuller Center founder] Millard Fuller's vision to help spread the word about the Fuller Center, help repair homes, and start new covenant partnerships," he said.
Dozens of volunteers turned out last summer to help repair the home of 71-year-old Lillie Miller, a long-time McDonough resident. Miller said that, the year prior, she had fallen on distressing times physically, financially, and emotionally. Her mother died in January 2008 and her husband of 45 years, Willie Miller, died later the same year.
The Fuller Center approached her early in 2009 and offered assistance through its McDonough Project, to make major repairs to Miller's home, which she said dates back to 1954. Volunteers repaired her leaky roof and rebuilt her front and back porches.
"It felt good, but it felt strange, too," Miller said, Wednesday, as she admired the volunteers' work. "It just looks brand new. I can't believe that I was blessed with such a house, from so many people I didn't know. That means a lot to me."
Persaud said, this year, the Atlanta Fuller Center for Housing has partnered with various organizations, including Wesley Way United Methodist Church's River of Life youth group, and other local churches and volunteers, to complete the repair projects.
"Two of them are large projects," he said. They include the McDonough-based Haven House for battered women and children, and the Walnut Creek Manor assisted living facility in McDonough.
The Haven House will have renovations done at its Blessings Thrift Store, which include replacing the roof, repainting the building and landscaping the property. At the Walnut Creek Manor, he said, volunteers' duties will include helping construct a handicap ramp, aid in replacing door hardware, and a roof, and assist in major landscaping work.
Persaud hopes to increase the local focus of the McDonough Project by launching -- within the next six months -- a Henry County Chapter of the national Fuller Center for Housing organization. However, for the 2010 McDonough Project, he said, "we're still accepting volunteers and donations."
To get more details, contact Persaud by e-mail, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone, at (678) 699-2308.
On the net:
Project McDonough: www.ProjectMcDonough.com