‘Make a Difference’ project earns national acclaim

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; The Linwood Circle Ruritan Club, 40 volunteers, including alderman, 4-H members and Girl Scouts, are among the 540 volunteers nationwide, to be awarded for their efforts made to a local family on Make A Difference Day.

On Oct. 26, an estimated 3 million volunteers around the country participated in service projects for Make A Difference Day.

The Ruritan Club and other volunteers geared their efforts to refurbish a home in Saragossa subdivision.

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Ruritan Club member Arella Bacon said that before the project began, the family of four had no indoor plumbing, no kitchen sink, no electricity and other deplorable conditions. The whole family also slept in the same room in double beds.

&uot;Since taking on this project dramatic changes have been made in the home,&uot; Bacon said.

The volunteers began working at the home at 9 a.m. and did not finish until 5 p.m.

On the inside of the home, volunteers painted, hung curtains, washed dishes, cleaned windows, swept cobwebs, stained cabinets, applied insect repellant and straightened clutter.

Some of the clutter consisted of clothes being hung over the beds and an open heater. Closets were built and the clothes were moved to prevent a fire from occurring.

The family was also provided with a complete remodeling of the bathroom, given another bed, decorative area rugs and other whatnots.

The mother was given tips on house cleaning and her son was taught how to stain cabinets.

Bacon said the children who live in the home were shy at first because of embarrassment but since the changes to the home are now more outgoing

Alderman Ricky Gray was so moved by the family’s condition that he and his wife offered the mother a job.

The family’s yard was also in need of a cleanup but could not be done the same day due to bad weather conditions. Volunteers plan to go back to the home and cleanup the yard.

&uot;The project is not finished. It is a long-term project. But for one day and for days to come, we did &uot;make a difference,&uot; Bacon said.

&uot;The major impact of this family’s life is that the work that has been done is affording them a suitable house in which to live. They have seen improvements made thus far and are now taking pride in their surroundings. The extra income will also help them to improve their living environment. This family can now afford some of the important items needed in the house.

&uot;Now that the mayor and other high officials are aware of the situation, further significant help can be expected,&uot; Bacon said.

Make a Difference Day was created by USA Weekend Magazine and is an annual event held on the fourth Saturday of every October.

To get involved on the national day of doing good investigate community needs, tell others about the plans and enlist help, carry out the plans and then fill out an official entry form at http://usaweekend.com/diffday/howto.html after the project is completed.