Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

October 17, 2013

Christmas in Action - Hammers at the ready

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — Now in its 21st year, Christmas in Action teams will be going into action in earnest this weekend, tackling everything from minor repairs to heavy-duty renovations.

The non-profit organization uses volunteer labor and donated materials to fix up the homes of people who can’t do it themselves or who can’t afford it.

This year, 35 homes have been chosen from the applications submitted, and with 17 projects already done this year, the group should complete 51 by the end of year, a new record, according to President Alan Waldrop.

“And we always do a few more, like roof leaks,” he said. “We’ve got four jobs that haven’t been taken, that either need a new roof or a roof leak. Depending on how much money we have left I think we’ll be able to do all four of them.

“We try to get people dry,” Waldrop added. “While they may be asking for several other things, at least we’ll be able to get the water stopped.”

Considering that more than 50 homes will be repaired this year by the group, Christmas in Action has a relatively modest budget of about $70,000 a year. Helping stretch that budget are donations of materials from True Value and Home Depot. Both companies also have teams of volunteers who take on home repairs, too.

The group always relies on volunteers, but some new partners have joined them this year. The Navarro County Board of Realtors and Chili’s are taking care of lunch for all the volunteers Saturday, and the Navarro County Electric Co-op has made a donation for the first time, Waldrop said.

“Another thing that’s happened this is that we’ve gotten a lot more donations from individuals than we have in the past,” he said. “Those $100 and $300 checks that come in make a big difference.”

The main workdays for Christmas in Action in Navarro County will be this Saturday and Oct. 26, although some teams will be working in November.

Christmas in Action began as Christmas in April, a men’s Sunday School project that grew outside the church to encompass Midland, Texas, and eventually spread to other cities and states. In 2000, board members decided to change  the name from the original Christmas in April to Rebuilding Together, arguing that the Christian name might be seen as offensive to non-Christians. Founder Bobby Trimble opposed the change and the Midland chapter left the national group and reformed as Christmas in Action, remaining dedicated to the Christian principle of helping neighbors.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “soundoff” to this article? Email: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com