CLOVERDALE -- Jerry and Angie Farmer went through most of last winter without an operating heating system in their home.
The Farmers live in a trailer in Cloverdale. They have lived there since 1990.
"The furnace went out last December," Angie said. "We had a guy come out and tell us it would be $1,800 to fix it ... and we just don't have the money."
Rebuilding Through B-I-N-G-O, an event hosted by the Putnam County Board of Realtors Inc., will be held tonight at the Putnam County Fairgrounds Community Building beginning at 5 p.m. Tickets are $25 each.
Tickets for the event include 15 regular bingo games with nine-card sheet, one bonanza game, one early bird game and a door prize ticket.
Players must be at least 18. The event will comply with Indiana charity gaming laws.
Proceeds from the event will benefit Rebuilding Together Owen-Putnam, a local chapter of the national organization Rebuilding Together, which focuses on helping the elderly, the disabled and families with children who are restricted by low-income and need to help make necessary repairs and do maintenance on their own homes.
RTOP provides these services at no cost to homeowners
Each spring, RTOP does major repairs on several area homes over two weekends. In 2008, the organization completed five home renovation projects, replaced four roofs, had over 200 volunteers, partnered with four local churches, received grants from the Putnam County Community Foundation, Lowe's, Wal-Mart and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and made over $70,000 worth of home improvements with less than $25,000.
The Putnam County Board of Realtors is a local not-for-profit professional organization made up of more than 125 local realtor and affiliate members. In the 55 years it has been in existence, PCBR has donated to several local organizations and has established a college scholarship fund for local students.
"Toward our goal of promoting home ownership, we have selected Rebuilding Together Owen-Putnam as the main recipient of proceeds from this year's charity bingo event," said James Knoebel, PCBR director.
Through the winter months last year, the Farmers relied on a kerosene heater and two small, electric space heaters for warmth.
"We left the electric ones in the bathroom and the kitchen so the pipes didn't freeze," Angie said. "We'd take turns staying up at night with the kerosene heater. One of us would stay up and get the house warmed up, then we'd shut it off and go to bed and get up four hours later to turn it back on and get the house warm again."
Jerry, 55, a Cloverdale native, worked for Link-Belt in Indianapolis for 29 years. When the company closed, he chose to take an early retirement rather than move to another plant when the Indianapolis location closed, and he now works as a driver for Putnam County Rural Transit.
Angie, 52, is disabled. She worked as a bill collector in Indianapolis for 24 years.
In the recent past, she has undergone cancer and cataract surgery. Her vision is now seriously impaired, and she has been unable to work. She has been trying for two years to collect disability, and has a hearing date in Indianapolis on Dec. 3.
After her health began to decline, she took various fast food and motel jobs, but was unable to keep them.
Angie found RTOP through a friend of hers.
"We had tried a lot of other places for help," she said. "We tried all the churches Jerry and I had ever gone to. We even tried the 700 Club. No one could help us."
The Rev. Tom Woodley, the coordinator for RTOP, said although the organization doesn't normally work on projects outside its major ones in the spring, sometimes there are exceptions -- and the Farmers are one.
"We are looking the help them as soon as possible," Woodley said. "We need the money to pay to have their furnace repaired before it gets cold."