Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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September 10, 2013

Christmas in Action effort growing

Corsicana — Christmas in Action, the local non-profit that repairs homes for the elderly and those in need, is gearing up for another work season. The agency has gotten 48 applications, which is actually down slightly from previous years, according to Secretary Karen Cook.

“Maybe we’re making a dent,” she said.

The group has its main work days on Oct. 19 and 26. On those two Saturdays, a small army of volunteers from military men and women to high school students, will turn out with hammers and paint brushes to fix up several dozen houses in Navarro County.

Currently, team leaders are being recruited. Those leaders will then round up volunteers and choose which projects their teams will tackle. The project selections will take place on Sept. 19 and 26 at the First United Methodist Church, a kind of bazaar for fix-it-up projects.

“We have about as many team leaders on our list as jobs,” said Alan Waldrop, president of the Navarro County chapter of Christmas in Action.

There are several new organizations lending a hand this year, with the Navarro County Realtor’s Board, which chose Christmas in Action as its official charity; Guardian Glass, which is sending a team of handy workers this year; and a Vietnam Veteran’s group, which is hoping to work on the home of vet.

“We don’t know until the workdays, but I feel like there might be more (volunteers) this year because we picked up some new teams,” Waldrop said. “I think we’ll have more volunteers than in the past.”

Christmas in Action has taken on house renovation jobs complicated enough to require entire teams of carpenters as well as simple jobs where they unstick the doors and fix the dripping sink. And although most of the work is done in October, they actually take on house repairs all year long, depending on available volunteers and money, Waldrop said.

“I have people call me year-round, churches and groups that want to do a project,” he said. “If we get an application at the end of September it probably wouldn’t be considered for the October workdays, but if it’s easy we’ll try get it done.”

Because of limited funds, the group doesn’t do a lot of roofing jobs, but will pay for contractors to re-roof about three or four houses a year.

“Because we have volunteers doing the work, sometimes it’s just too much for them,” Waldrop said. “We can’t do everything, but we sure would like to.”

Christmas in Action began as an outreach program from a church in Midland, Texas, under the guidance of founder Bobby Trimble.

“From there, it spread and CIA is probably in about 30 different cities from Texas to Michigan and South Carolina,” said Alvis Reeves, who was the executive director for about six years. “It started in Navarro County in 1992 and has been operating continuously since then. I’m really proud of the group we’ve got now, and the way it’s operated.”

There are no paid employees in Christmas in Action. It’s run by a volunteer board of directors using donated supplies and funds. Volunteers with any level of skill are needed for this year’s Christmas in Action efforts. To volunteer, or to donate funds, tools or building materials, call Waldrop at (903) 641-7595, or Alvis Reeves at (903) 875-8727.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com.

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