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Christmas in Action hoping to lend dozens of hands for community
06/09/2011 - By Taylor Short - Cleburne Times-Review
It may still feel like summer, but Christmas may come sooner this year for some local homeowners.

Christmas in Action is accepting applications through Nov. 15 for the group’s April 8 community workday where they will repair homes of the low-income, disabled or elderly.

“I work for the city as a health inspector and we saw the need of people who were elderly and disabled that just couldn’t physically or financially repair their houses that they were living in,” said CIA board secretary Teresa Richardson. “So the program was started with coordination from the main headquarters out in Midland, where the program started.”

Since the program arrived in Johnson County 12 years ago, Richardson said the group has repaired, repainted and refurbished about 65 houses in the county, including locations in Cleburne, Rio Vista, Alvarado, Joshua, Keene and other surrounding cities.

Anyone may apply, but most who are chosen are elderly or disabled homeowners. No rental property or mobile homes are considered.

“There’s a house selection committee made up of one of the ladies that runs Meals-on-Wheels; we have a physical therapist that serves on our board [and] some construction people,” Richardson said. “So, they look at the repairs that are needed and determine if it’s something that the group can do.”

Most of the renovations are done by volunteers, but the organization must raise money to pay for electricians, plumbers and other skilled laborers. Those major projects are started in advance and finished up on the scheduled day when between 200 and 300 volunteers arrive, with 50 or 60 people swarming each home.

“Usually we do anywhere from three to five houses, this year we’re shooting for three, but it just depends on the funds,” Richardson said. “Last year we did four, and we do emergency repair service throughout the year, like installing wheelchair ramps.”

Richardson said Huguley Memorial Medical Center often contacts her to help provide wheelchair ramps for those who have trouble getting into their home after a hospital stay.

On the web: http://www.cleburnetimesreview.com/archivesearch/local_story_253115639.html

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