Christmas spirit continues as volunteers repair homes - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Christmas spirit continues as volunteers repair homes

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Two days after Christmas the giving spirit is alive and well in Columbia, and today one local non-profit will kick off four days of home repairs to seven houses in desperate need of help.

Home Works of America, Inc. is a faith based non-profit that has been repairing homes for the elderly and disabled since 1996. This Thursday they'll kick-off their annual Christmas Blitz and volunteers will work on the homes through the weekend. 

The non-profit currently has a year and a half long waiting list, so organizers say they're getting started on these seven homes as quickly as possible. One of those homes belongs to John and Eartha Burns in North Columbia. "The roof as a hole about this size that's up there," said Hank Chardo, Executive Director and Founder of Home Works. Hank stretched out his arms, and folded them in a large circle. "The rain just pours right in," he added.

Homeowner Eartha Burns, 65, agrees and adds that it's been like that for years. "The roof is the main thing, but everything needs fixing," said Eartha, "Because I couldn't afford it, I just couldn't afford to pay the bills. It's just so hard to do something by yourself," she added.

Eartha says her husband John used to do all the work around the house, but he is currently in the hospital. She says he's been in and out of hospitals for six years with throat cancer, diabetes and most recently a heart attack.  "He would do [the work] and had people who used to work for him to help, but it got [to where] he couldn't do it no more," said Eartha.

Eartha's neighbor across the street had her roof repaired by Home Works about three years ago. She says that's how she found out about the faith-based non-profit. "The lady across the street had given me a letter and told me to fill it out and send it in, and I sent it out," said Eartha. "So when Hank came by here and talked to me… I told him praise the Lord, because I need help, and Hank said I'm going to get somebody to help you."

Chardos says dozens of volunteers will spend days replacing the Burns' roof, their storm door, kitchen counter tops and other parts of their home. "We could spend a month here, but rather what we want to do is address the most important needs, and that way we can go on to another home like the Burns that are waiting for Home Works to come," said Chardos.

Eartha says she's beyond grateful, and while her husband is still in the hospital and cannot speak, she says she knows he is, too. Eartha says she told John about the Home Works coming to fix up the home and he smiled. "I feel wonderful," she said. "This was my Christmas present from Heaven."

Chardos says they currently have more than 100 volunteers to work on the seven homes in Columbia, but are looking for several more. Thirty of those volunteers are soldiers from Fort Jackson who stayed in town during Christmas break. If you would like to volunteer any day this weekend, call (803) 781-4536 or email H.Chardos@homeworksusa.net.

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