Pastor hopes organization can help needy

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pastor Tom Woodley has seen it before.

And now, he wants to give back to the Putnam County community.

While preaching in New Jersey, Woodley got involved with Rebuilding Together, a non-profit organization set up to help homeowners in need.

Woodley said the organization's top priority is to look for homeowners that are dealing with financial problems, on limited incomes and can not afford to fix homes, or those who are dealing with "catastrophes."

"It's all volunteer," Woodley said.

Woodley -- who began preaching at Grace Lutheran Church, Cloverdale, in June -- said he hopes to have the organization ready to go by January 2007.

He said he hopes to help residents in the Cloverdale area, South Putnam Community School Corp. area, and the northern area of Owen County immediately, with a goal of branching out to the entire county.

"My vision right now is (branching out) to Spencer and Greencastle," Woodley said.

Woodley helped coordinate a Rebuilding Together chapter in New Jersey in 2005, one he said is "still going strong."

He said a board will be formed for the organization and a kickoff breakfast is planned for January at the church. Woodley added the organization is not affiliated with the church.

"We're looking for people to be on the board," Woodley said. "We're hoping to have the board (implemented) by January. Then we'll look for donations, volunteers and clients."

Woodley said once the board is completed, the client list will be put together. He said friends, relatives or others can nominate those in need, or they can nominate themselves.

"You can change people's lives from this," he said. "And you help one family out at a time."

In addition, Woodley said once a nominee has been selected for home repair, all the work is expected to be finished in one day.

"We try to do all the work in one day," he said, "because you can always get people to volunteer for one day. People want to help other people."

Woodley said there are times when the projects are not concluded in one day, but that's always the goal.

"You always have glitches," he said.

Rebuilding Together currently has 12 chapters in the state, and several around the country. Its main office is located in Washington, D.C. The program began in Midland, Texas, in 1973.

According to statistics provided by the organization, there are currently 24 million low-income homeowner families in the country. The organization's mission is to help those low-income families, the elderly and disabled that have difficulty funding improvements on homes.

"No matter where you live, within a half-mile of where you live, somebody needs help," Woodley said.

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