Women tackle home repairs in Cape GirardeauCape Girardeau MO
The Friday morning women’s bible study group of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Cape Girardeau is hungry—not for kettle beef or peach cobbler—but hungry to put their love of Christ into action. Members of the group have been coming together every Friday to pray and study the Word of God. They have had many discussions about how to give back—how to put their faith into action.
“[We] had been praying that the Lord lead us in the right direction,” said Lisa Seabaugh. “Then one day over the summer I happened across a newsletter from Catholic Charities. I’m not sure where I got it. But after seeing all they did, I thought this could be the Lord pointing us where we needed to be.”
Seabaugh contacted Kyle Schott with the local Catholic Charities office. An overview of services was provided to the group, which included the Home Repair and Rebuilding program that works on houses damaged in natural disasters as well as the homes of seniors and low-income families who cannot afford needed repairs. The women decided that they would try their hand at home repair.
“No one had any experience,” Seabaugh laughed, “but we were willing to learn on the job. We just wanted to help wherever there was the greatest need.”
A home badly damaged by the winter flooding was the first project for the women.
“I had about this much water in my home,” said homeowner Sherry Shelton, pointing to a spot on the wall four feet high.
Shelton has resided on the banks of the Mississippi River for over 30 years.
“You get used to it after a while,” she said. “The water comes up, gets real close to the house, then goes back down.”
However, the New Year’s flood of the Mississippi River reached a record high in Cape Girardeau.
“This time was different,” said Shelton.
“We had been working on this house for some time,” said Billy Moses, Construction Manager and Volunteer Coordinator for CCSOMO. He noted that walls had been rebuilt and new floors installed.
“The family moved out after the flood, and we had several volunteer groups come in and help,” Moses said. “But then the family had to move back in because where they moved to after the flood was not a safe environment for their seven-year-old daughter. “
“We just kept working right around them,” Moses said.
Moses also served as the job skills trainer for the women. After some brief lessons, the St. Vincent’s group got right into sanding, mudding, and priming walls.
“We loved the experience,” said Seabaugh. “It was a lot of hard work. I was sore and worn out when I came home, but it was so rewarding.”
“This has definitely been an eye-opener for me,” said Lyn Mueller of the home repair training and repair. “We take a lot of things for granted. Seeing this, you feel so blessed, and now you know there are people out there that really need help.”
“I’ll never forget the look on the homeowner’s face when he first saw us,” Seabaugh said. “It was worth a million dollars. You could tell how moved he was to see so many people willing to help him.”
The women’s bible study group have made a commitment to take on a service project with Catholic Charities one Friday every month.
“Taking on projects like this brings us closer together as a group,” Debbie Baumgart said. “It is one of the ways we can put our love into action and serve others.”
For more information on ways to get involved, log on to ccsomo.org.