CCC provides a 'Fantastic Home Facelift'

Volunteers for Christians Concerned for the Community install a new ceiling in the Duval home of Elizabeth Williams. From left are, Marty McFall, Matt Powlen and Jen Connell.

AIDA MALLARD/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 3:19 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 3:19 p.m.

Elizabeth Williams's home in the Duval neighborhood was buzzing with activity Saturday morning.

There were volunteers on her front porch replacing a ceiling, and as some were building a railing on the back porch, others were repairing wood around windows, while several other volunteers were on ladders priming the exterior to get it ready for painting.

Williams is one of five homeowners in Alachua County who received a "Fantastic Home Facelift" provided by Christians Concerned for the Community, with volunteers who worked under the direction of a site supervisor who is in the construction business.

The work began on Friday-Saturday and will be completed this Friday and Saturday. The "Fantastic Home Facelift" is an annual project, now in its fifth year.

Founded in 1987 by Lynn and Suzanne Groce, missionaries now retired and living in Kentucky, Christians Concerned for the Community, or CCC, is a nonprofit organization that partners with local churches, local organizations and government agencies to help meet the needs of Alachua County residents.

Ericson Frank, CCC executive director, said referrals come from a variety of sources, including churches, neighbors, government agencies, health providers, family, or the person needing assistance.

Frank said Williams had been referred for a safety grab bar in the bathroom, and when he came to install it, he saw that she could benefit from additional work. He asked Williams for permission to do the work and she agreed. "He didn't ask for anything," Williams said. "I gave a small donation because I wanted to do it. This is a beautiful group."

Jen Connell, a student with the UF American Society of Engineers, who was in charge of the UF volunteers at the Williams home, said they have partnered with CCC to build ramps and other structures. "It's a great partnership," said Connell, adding that the students get hands-on experience while learning from construction professionals and the homeowner benefits from no-cost improvements. "Everyone benefits," said Connell.

Frank said CCC focuses on empowering people in crisis, people who are seniors, and people who have medical disabilities. CCC also accepts donations of furniture, appliances, painting equipment, mowers, landscaping and other items.

"At no cost, we serve a diverse population of neighbors in Alachua County, regardless of age, income, race, ethnicity, culture, sex, gender, marital status, religion, political affiliation or nationality," said Frank, adding that CCC's main focus is accessibility, which includes modifying and building railings, ramps, stairs and providing wheelchairs, bath benches and other safety equipment.

Frank said basic furniture and appliances are provided to people in crisis who may have a place to live, but no furniture or appliances. CCC also helps residents through community service projects by cleaning, painting, landscaping and doing minor home repairs.

Frank said last year, 405 residents were helped by 477 volunteers who donated 2,685 volunteer hours. He said 199 deliveries of furniture were made last year.

On Saturday during the "Fantastic Home Facelift," Frank was at the home of John and Tashama Davis working with a group of volunteers who were priming the home's exterior wood siding to get it ready for painting this weekend. John Davis said CCC has already provided him with a motorized wheelchair and a ramp with a deck. "We just wanted a ramp and he (Frank) suggested a deck," said Tashama Davis. "They (CCC) do more than we asked for."

The Davises donated a washer and a dryer.

At the home of Helen Reese, a group of CCC volunteers from Servants of Christ Anglican Church and site supervisor Mark Manche, a painting contractor, had just completed painting the Reese home.

"CCC is terrific," Manche said. "I'm happy to be a part of it."

For more information, call 352-371-1768. For a complete list of items to donate, visit and click on "Wishlist" at the top of page.

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