Jul 29, 2014
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Lakewood Volunteers Have 'Faith in the Neighborhood'

Rose Grace, 70, received a letter in the mail from the city's housing department in January, noting that she needed to fix up her aging home. The Lakewood United Methodist Church stepped in to help.

Lakewood Volunteers Have 'Faith in the Neighborhood' Lakewood Volunteers Have 'Faith in the Neighborhood' Lakewood Volunteers Have 'Faith in the Neighborhood' Lakewood Volunteers Have 'Faith in the Neighborhood' Lakewood Volunteers Have 'Faith in the Neighborhood'

The new address numbers and the flag planted on the front porch at 1659 Elmwood Avenue were sort of a symbolic gesture.

The real work to restore Rose Grace’s home has lasted several months, represented an estimated $20,000 worth of work and included countless volunteers. 

The project all began in May, when LakewoodAlive housing outreach supervisor Hilary Schickler put Grace in touch with the Faith in the Neighborhood program.

On Thursday evening, they all came together to admire and reflect on the finished product. 

The Rev. Laura Jaissle led a brief blessing at the home, followed by a prayer. The church and presented Grace with a few gifts as well, including a bottle of sparkling grape juice.

Starting with the organization’s Change the World day on May 20, the Faith in the Neighborhood group has been traveling around Lakewood, helping to fix up houses that fall into .

“When we took this project on, initially we wanted to just clean the yard,” said Jaissle. 

In the months leading up to the dedication, volunteers stripped, sanded and painted the 97-year-old home that Grace has lived in for the past 27 years.

“We at LakewoodAlive are blessed to have friends like you folks to be able to help us out, because there’s such a need,” said Ian Andrews, the director of LakewoodAlive, to the volunteers.

Although the outreach program covered the cost of paint and other items, volunteers also chipped in for the materials to rebuild Grace's front porch.

Her overgrown backyard was also landscaped and manicured.

“The beautiful thing about the Methodists is the skill level they brought to the project,” Schickler said.

Through LakewoodAlive’s Housewarming program, Grace also received a new furnace — a $10,000 value.

Grace, tears welling up in her eyes, expressed her gratitude.

“I can’t thank you enough,” she said. “Thank you, again.”

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