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Lions learn about Christmas in Action
11/04/2015 - By Ashley Rose - Cleburne Times Review
Christmas in Action Treasurer Cassie Dunson spoke to the Cleburne Lions Club on Oct. 28 at the Cleburne Conference Center about the organization and its biggest fundraiser, the chili supper and dance.

Since 2000, CIA has been repairing homes in Johnson County.

“Christmas in Action repairs homes for the elderly and disabled homeowners in Johnson County,” Dunson said.

Cleburne Environmental Health Inspector and CIA Secretary Teresa Bednar said her job with the city led her to volunteer with CIA.

“Part of my duties with the city are to send notices to people that need to repair or rebuild structures in their homes,” Bednar said. “I noticed as I sent the letters out, some of the homeowners were elderly or disabled and couldn’t afford to do the projects.”

Bednar said 16 years later, she is still on the organization’s board so she can help give back to the community.

“The city saw the program and thought it would benefit Cleburne,” Bednar said. “So we solicited local men and woman volunteers to come and join our board. We have some of the original board members still.”

Bednar said the organization focuses mainly on homes in Cleburne because that’s where they get most of their funding, but they do repair homes in other cities in Johnson County.

“Currently we are up to 26-30 properties a year,” Bednar said. “The major repairs are the first Saturday in April.”

During that time, Dunson said local groups and organizations come together to repair about five to seven homes on the work day.

“We think it’s great to get kids out there and get them excited about volunteering in their community,” Dunson said.

Before April comes around, Dunson said the organization hires contractors to make the big repairs to the homes such as building frames and other repairs, electric repairs or anything skilled workers can do.

“We leave the easy jobs for the volunteers, like painting the exterior of the home,” Dunson said.

Dunson said there is no age limit for the volunteers.

“Anybody can volunteer,” Dunson said. “If they are under 12 years old, we do recommend that they have a parent volunteering with them.”

Bednar agreed.

“This program would not survive without the volunteers of this community,” Bednar said.

For a home to be repaired, Bednar said, there are a couple of rules.

“They must own the home in order for us to repair it,” Bednar said. “We will be taking applications until Nov. 30 for the big repair jobs in April. We look at the homeowner’s income and whether they’re elderly or disabled is also a factor.”

Dunson said the head of the selection committee will schedule appointments for each house and figure out the amount of money the house will need for the repairs.

“The amount of money we raise throughout the year will determine the number of houses we will work on,” Dunson said.

Dunson said every penny donated to CIA goes to repairing the homes.

“There are some organizations that give away their proceeds to other organizations,” Dunson said. “I can say that 100 percent of the money given to [CIA] is used to repair the homes. I think that will make you feel good about where your money goes to.”

Dunson said the money raised goes to the skilled contractors and the tools the volunteers use.

Anyone can apply to have their home repaired and Dunson said they are always looking for corporate sponsors and volunteers for the projects.

Chili supper and dance

CIA will be host its chili supper and dance from 6-10 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Cleburne Elks Lodge, 124 FM 1434.

Chili will be cooked by the Cleburne Fire Department and served from 6-9 p.m. There will be a silent auction from 6-9 p.m., recognition of top supporters at 7:30 p.m., live band entertainment from 8-10 p.m. and a 50/50 drawing at 9 p.m.

Tickets are available at the door for $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 4-12, or you can buy them in advance from Dunson at Lone Star Ag Credit, 210 N. Ridgeway Drive, or by calling 817-558-4902.

Cleburne Fire Chief Clint Ishmael said the department likes to cook for the chili supper.

“Cleburne firefighters aren’t just the guys you see when you dial 911,” Ishmael said. “They are your neighbors who look for opportunities to make Cleburne a better place.”

Ishmael said the department also build wheelchair ramps, install air conditioners, cut trees, work on houses and do a variety of other jobs/activities to help CIA and their community.

For more information about CIA, to volunteer or request an application, call CIA’s new number at 817-774-2022 or visit www.christmasinaction.net.
On the web: CleburneTimesReview.com

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