CHRISTMAS IN ACTION: HOLLY

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For many people it is unthinkable to have to decide to repair a leak in their roof or pay for their medications. Having to go without food because their budget is down to nothing and they had to pay their energy bill. For some people in our community these are choices that have to be made. Over 10 years ago, while installing insulation for a Christmas In Action location in Southern Oakland County, Phil Long and Ed Pedley asked one simple question “why couldn’t we start helping seniors in our own community?”. From there, Christmas in Action Holly was born. Starting in2004, through the hard work of the Christmas Inaction volunteers, there has been work done to 31homes in our community over the last 10 years. Christmas in Action is a nonprofit agency that has successfully implemented the “tried and true “idea of “neighbor helping neighbor” by partnering with the community to repair the homes of low income and/or disabled homeowners. This year alone the Holly CIA team will be working on 3homes. Anywhere from 30-50 volunteers work on each home. Marie Todorovsky has been working with the Christmas In Action Charity for 9 years. What has kept her going strong for almost a decade? “I realized that so much is taken for granted. Simple things like changing a light bulb isn’t possible for many seniors. EVEN having the funds to pay for a light bulb isn’t possible for many of them. Having bathroom that they can’t shower in because it’s not handicap accessible or an entire floor of their home they can no longer get to just broke my heart. After my first WORKDAY I knew I would always be part of Holly CIA.”The CIA volunteers ask for nothing in return for their services but a smile on the faces of those that they help. The board and volunteers work year-round to build up the funds to take on the projects needed.  The biggest challenge that the Christmas in Action team runs into is usually finding the homeowners.“The generation of seniors we are helping are not use to someone doing something because we care about them. They expect to have a bill at the end of workday, strings attached to the jobs we do or some kind of catch. They come from a generation that worked hard for everything they have and to have someone knock on their door and say “Hey I see you need a new roof, how about you let us show up with 50 people in April to do that for you “isn’t something they believe happens in real life.”Marie is usually the one that gets to meet the homeowners first and starts the application process with them. It is her goal to show them genuine understanding, and to reassure them and let them know that CIA is 100% REAL and ready to be there to help them live in their homes safely and comfortably for as long as they can.  The CIA loves having new volunteers join the non WORKDAY each year. The workday is always the last Saturday in April. On that Saturday every chapter of CIA (26 chapters across the nation) is doing the same thing in their own communities.  Each volunteer understands that on that day even though they may just be working on ONE house, there are many people across the nation working on 100’s of houses all over the USA doing the same thing. Being part of something BIGGER than most of us can imagine!!Like the CIA Facbook page to hear about the fundraisers happening all year long to help them get ready for next year’s WORKDAY!

www.facebook.com/CIAHolly

www.HollyCIA.org