HTH: Christmas in Action in desperate need of volunteers

Helping the Helpers

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — One local nonprofit works year-round to rehabilitate the homes of low-income elderly, disabled and veteran homeowners.

However, during the pandemic, folks with Christmas in Action were unable to do as much as they did pre-pandemic.

Those with Christmas in Action said they are all about neighbors helping neighbors and now more than ever, they hope Texomans can lend a helping hand.

“If just everybody in Wichita Falls could just give one dollar it would be amazing,” Christmas in Action Director Cassie Ahearn said.

For the past nine years, Ahearn has seen homes restored and lives touched through the services provided by Christmas in Action.

“I do roofing, plumbing, electrical, ramps, and when we have volunteers we do things like painting the exterior, trim trees way from the roof,” Ahearn said.

Ahearn said they do just about anything a house could need, but since the pandemic, they have desperately needed volunteers to help them get back on track.

“During COVID we did a lot of contractor services because we didn’t have volunteers,” Ahearn said.

Services that took quite a bit of funds from an already dwindling account.

Ahearn and Christmas in Action Board President Ed Wang said 2019 was a good year, things were on an upward trend as it relates to their finances and volunteers.

“When COVID hit in 2020 the bottom just fell out,” Wang said.

Wang said it takes about $230,000 annually to secure materials to keep helping those in need, 50% or more of that from donations and fundraising.

“We’ve been hit pretty hard on how many people we can help, if we can get the volunteers back and of course some money flowing back in we can get back to where we were,” Wang said.

Wang and Ahearn said in a perfect world the nonprofit would need 500 volunteers. Volunteers that could help them complete their annual average of 150 projects.

Last year, while they had 140 projects they were only able to complete 83.

Their fear is the lack of resources could mean they can’t be there for clients who really need them.

“You can see the outside from the inside of the house and it’s awful that our elderly, disabled and veteran homeowners are living that way,” Ahearn said. “It really becomes a part of you and a passion and you want what’s best for these people because sometimes it seems like nobody is looking out for them.”

Ahearn and Wang believe every bit of support helps toward their mission to help their clients continue to live warmer, safer and with independence.

There are quite a few ways you can support Christmas in Action, including a barbecue cook-off coming later this year, find those details here.

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