By Jessica Brodie
ORANGEBURG—A disabled woman living alone now has a new roof on her home three years after the flood of 2015 blew away her shingles.
Lillie Livingston said the new roof will give her a chance to get her life back. For three years she’s had to deal with tarps and a leaky roof that dripped directly into her bedroom, causing mold and other issues.
“I had to put a swimming pool on the bed and a blanket,” Livingston said. “It was really messy.”
But now, thanks to a young adult team comprising people from Cayce United Methodist Church, Cayce, and Mount Hebron UMC, West Columbia, who spent two days onsite in early August, Livingston has a new roof and a dry, sanitary place to call home.
“It makes a big difference,” Livingston said. “I’m very thankful for them.”
Ward Smith, director of recovery ministries for the South Carolina Conference of the UMC, said it tugged at his heart to see the purple plastic swimming pool and pale pink bucket stacked on Livingston’s bed in an effort to contain the dripping water.
“She has lived in the home since the flood because she didn’t have anyplace else to go, and that’s been her best situation,” Smith said.
Helping people like Livingston underscores why Smith and the rest of the conference disaster recovery team are hoping to rally more volunteer teams and even individuals who can go to different houses to do big jobs like roofs and also smaller jobs, all to help people get back in their homes and back in safe, sanitary living conditions.
“We’re desperate for volunteers,” Smith said.
All skill levels are needed, and work ranges from Dillon to the Beaufort area.
Adam Way, of Mount Hebron UMC, leads the Sunday school class for young adults at his church and said the mission effort was a good opportunity for the Mount Hebron and Cayce young adults to get to know each other better and to serve the community in Jesus’s name.
He had the chance to meet Livingston, and he could tell how much their help meant to her.
“I can just tell by the glow in her eye and smile on her face—it is not only a better roof to live under, but it’s also being reached out to from people who care,” Way said.
Way encourages other individuals and teams to sign up to help, noting he was surprised at first to learn there were still people with homes damaged from the flood three years ago.
“We’re given able hands for a reason and that’s to help others and share Christ’s love with others,” Way said, noting there are opportunities for hard labor and light labor—all skill levels and abilities. “There are plenty of jobs on the ground and on the roof; it’s as easy as painting and tidying up and visiting with the homeowner.
“There’s something for everyone; don’t be scared.”
To sign up to volunteer, call 803-726-3105 or email [email protected].
By Jessica Brodie