Brandon First UMC set to provide home repair


By Becky Russell
Rankin Ledger

Brandon First United Methodist Church is expanding its local missions outreach with a program aimed at helping the needy with home repairs.

It is called the Helping Hands ministry and is made up of about 85 volunteers. That group gives its time and talents to those who need home repairs but can’t afford them.

The Rev. Jim Taylor, associate pastor, said the ministry fills a need that church members saw within the congregation.

“We had some elderly members who couldn’t afford or couldn’t actually physically do their own home repairs,” Taylor said. “Our church designated funds to pay for materials so when the need arises we can respond to that need.”

Johnny Beck is chairman of the missions committee. He said he believes the church is fulfilling the words of Jesus: “When you do it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.”

“The need is not going to be with the millionaire walking down the street, but it is with the one who doesn’t have enough food or clothing or who can’t make repairs on their home,” Beck said. “We as believers are blessed to be saved by faith through the grace of God, and we need to share that with those in need.”

Church member Richard Henley has worked on several projects as a volunteer with the ministry. Henley said the group has done everything from changing light bulbs to building a porch. He said the church frequently works with the Rankin County Human Resource Agency to identify needs in this area.

“The people at our church are very giving,” Henley said. “There are so many who are free with their time and with their money, and it is never a problem getting people to work on projects.”

He said the ministry began after Hurricane Katrina as the church mobilized to help clean up debris.

The eventual goal of the church, he said, is to fully equip a portable trailer to take on-site at a moment’s notice.

“If anyone has a home repair need they should call the church office, and then we would come out, assess the project and see what needs to be done from there,” Henley said.

Beck said the church has run into a problem with people not wanting to admit they need help.

“I would just encourage anyone with a need to swallow their pride and ask,” Beck said, “because that’s what we are here for is to help them, and everyone needs help sometimes.”

This article first appeared in the Feb. 2 issue of the “Rankin Ledger” and is used with permission.