MISSION TO SERVE: Church volunteers from across South help renovate low-income homes in LaGrange

Published 9:00 am Saturday, July 1, 2023

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Over the past week, 140 volunteers from churches from seven states descended upon LaGrange to help renovate homes for families in need.

The faith-based non-profit Mission Serve partners with churches and local city governments to assist in rehabilitating sub-standard housing across the country.

This is Mission Serve’s first project in LaGrange. Across the summer, Mission Serve will work on over a hundred homes throughout the country, said Les Enterline, Project Coordinator for the LaGrange work site. Nine homes in LaGrange received renovations at no cost.

Students from middle-school age to college students came to LaGrange from across Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois and Virginia to renovate homes and make much-needed repairs for low-income homeowners.

“It’s a means to enable students to show the love of Christ to the community through action and be the hands and feet of Christ out in the community,” Enterline said.

Enterine said they had nine squads at homes throughout LaGrange providing renovations, including siding, painting, and replacing stairs, floor joists, soffits and fascias.

Funding for the materials for the renovations came from the City of LaGrange, which provided $75,000 for the project. Enterline said all the money goes for materials and other supplies needed for the renovations. They provide the labor for free.

The students and adult volunteers began work on Monday at 7 a.m. and finished on Friday. The group will head out on Saturday.

Over the week, Western Heights Baptist Church housed the volunteers. Enterline said they have had tremendous support from the community.

“The community has been really opening open and accepting,” Enterline said. “Even the gas station that’s right across the street from the church. They donated ice all week. We needed ice for the squads going out, and I went in and talked to him, and he said, you can just come every morning and get the ice.”

Mission Serve partnered with Habitat for Humanity and Circles of Troup County to identify the homeowners in need of volunteers to help renovate.

Deb Brown was one of the homeowners of the nine homes that received the renovations throughout the week.

Three years ago, after working with Circles, Brown was able to purchase a house. Since then, she has worked and saved to make much-needed repairs, but painting was way down the list.

The volunteers were not only able to provide exterior repairs, but they also helped paint her house.

Brown shared with the volunteers that her childhood home —a trailer— had been painted a primer color. It was not a safe or happy time for her, so when the new home she purchased had a significant portion painted the same primer color, it was a painful reminder of difficult times.

Thanks to the volunteers, the new paint has become a healing point for her.

Brown’s story is just one example of the work provided through the program.

Enterline said the group plans to return to LaGrange the same week next year for a new set of projects.