Rebuilding Together Clay County worked with an occupational therapist to ensure a 47-year-old homeowner could live safely in his own home. 
The homeowner suffers from mobility issues and depends on a wheelchair to get around. However, his home had no ramp or accessible way to enter or leave his home. He was also forced to use a towel bar in order to use the bathroom. The hallway to his bedroom wasn’t accessible, forcing him to lean against the walls as he moved.
Volunteers from Rebuilding Together Clay County built a wooden ramp outside of the homeowner’s front door. He can now freely come and go from his house as he pleases. They installed two grab bars in his bathroom, making it much easier for him to enter and exit his shower. Grab bars were also installed throughout his hallway, allowing him to safely walk to and from his bedroom. 
The homeowner was so thrilled with the new ramp and other safety modifications, He posted pictures on Facebook saying, “All finished and loving it!”

Rebuilding Together Clay County worked with an occupational therapist to ensure a 47-year-old homeowner could live safely in his own home. 

The homeowner suffers from mobility issues and depends on a wheelchair to get around. However, his home had no ramp or accessible way to enter or leave his home. He was also forced to use a towel bar in order to use the bathroom. The hallway to his bedroom wasn’t accessible, forcing him to lean against the walls as he moved.

Volunteers from Rebuilding Together Clay County built a wooden ramp outside of the homeowner’s front door. He can now freely come and go from his house as he pleases. They installed two grab bars in his bathroom, making it much easier for him to enter and exit his shower. Grab bars were also installed throughout his hallway, allowing him to safely walk to and from his bedroom. 

The homeowner was so thrilled with the new ramp and other safety modifications, He posted pictures on Facebook saying, “All finished and loving it!”

Meet Susan Hawfield!
Susan Hawfield has recently rejoined Rebuilding Together’s National Office after spending the better part of 10 years at Rebuilding Together Montgomery County. She started out as the director of program services and served as the executive director for six years after that. She is our new senior director of affiliate relations.
Susan currently calls Kensington, Maryland, home, but she is originally from North Carolina.
A graduate from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Susan started at Rebuilding Together in September of 1999 as a program associate in the National Office’s Program Department.
When asked why she transitioned from the National Office to the Affiliate Network, Susan said, “It looked like the affiliate network was having great fun. I wanted to implement the mission on the ground. I appreciated how difficult it was to have so many moving parts to the mission. The work was worth it in the end because the person had a safer and healthier home.”
What made her want to come back to the National Office? “I learned a lot working for an affiliate for nine plus years. It was awesome. The opportunity to help the affiliate network was a challenge I could bring insight to. I never had a job where I didn’t need a lot of training,” said Susan.
Susan has plenty of favorite Rebuilding Together moments. One being an elderly woman who Susan said she always carries in her heart. The woman was in her 90s and lived with her middle aged son who had a developmental disability. Susan described their home as modest with almost no food. Lawn furniture was used for living room furniture. The ceiling of their second floor was completely collapsed. The homeowner told Susan, “I would have ended up in a shelter if it wasn’t for Rebuilding Together Montgomery County.” Despite everything, Susan said the homeowner was the happiest person she ever met. She even discovered that she and the homeowner shared the same hometown in North Carolina.
A volunteer that has really inspired her is Jerry Liu. He’s been helping his neighbors with Rebuilding Together Montgomery County for over 20 years. In fact, he’s heading to Brooklyn with Rebuilding Together to help survivors of Hurricane Sandy.
Rebuilding Together’s National Office is very excited to have Susan onboard!

Meet Susan Hawfield!

Susan Hawfield has recently rejoined Rebuilding Together’s National Office after spending the better part of 10 years at Rebuilding Together Montgomery County. She started out as the director of program services and served as the executive director for six years after that. She is our new senior director of affiliate relations.

Susan currently calls Kensington, Maryland, home, but she is originally from North Carolina.

A graduate from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Susan started at Rebuilding Together in September of 1999 as a program associate in the National Office’s Program Department.

When asked why she transitioned from the National Office to the Affiliate Network, Susan said,It looked like the affiliate network was having great fun. I wanted to implement the mission on the ground. I appreciated how difficult it was to have so many moving parts to the mission. The work was worth it in the end because the person had a safer and healthier home.”

What made her want to come back to the National Office? “I learned a lot working for an affiliate for nine plus years. It was awesome. The opportunity to help the affiliate network was a challenge I could bring insight to. I never had a job where I didn’t need a lot of training,” said Susan.

Susan has plenty of favorite Rebuilding Together moments. One being an elderly woman who Susan said she always carries in her heart. The woman was in her 90s and lived with her middle aged son who had a developmental disability. Susan described their home as modest with almost no food. Lawn furniture was used for living room furniture. The ceiling of their second floor was completely collapsed. The homeowner told Susan, “I would have ended up in a shelter if it wasn’t for Rebuilding Together Montgomery County.” Despite everything, Susan said the homeowner was the happiest person she ever met. She even discovered that she and the homeowner shared the same hometown in North Carolina.

A volunteer that has really inspired her is Jerry Liu. He’s been helping his neighbors with Rebuilding Together Montgomery County for over 20 years. In fact, he’s heading to Brooklyn with Rebuilding Together to help survivors of Hurricane Sandy.

Rebuilding Together’s National Office is very excited to have Susan onboard!

Charity Navigator has awarded Rebuilding Together with a 4-star rating for the 9th year in a row. This mark of distinction places us in the top one percent of organizations evaluated. You can visit Charity Navigator’s website to review our profile, learn more about their methodologies and see their tips on being a savvy donor.

What does this rating mean to you? Our 4-star rating means that you can trust Rebuilding Together to use our resources responsibly to provide extensive home rehabilitation and modification services to homeowners in need at no cost to those we serve. Our work positively impacts the condition of the surrounding community as well through community center rehabilitation, playground builds, and partnerships with organizations focused on energy efficiency, sustainable community gardens, volunteer engagement, and education. With the help of everyday citizen volunteers, skilled tradespeople, and the support of local business and major corporate partners, Rebuilding Together affiliates make life better for thousands of low-income homeowners every year.

Rebuilding Together’s 4-star rating from Charity Navigator also means that when you support us, you are supporting one of the best safe and healthy housing organizations in the United States. According to Charity Navigator’s rating chart, a 4-star rating means we are exceptional because we exceed industry standards and outperform most charities in our cause. Our network of almost 200 affiliated non-profits brings together 200,000 volunteers and completes nearly 10,000 projects each year. For every $1 donated to Rebuilding Together, $4 of value is delivered to our projects. Collectively that’s over $1.3 billion in market value reinvested to date into the communities we serve. We encourage you to visit our profile on Charity Navigator to learn about our great financial health, accountability and transparency.

"Rebuilding Together is honored to be included in the top 1 percent of charities that have received at least nine consecutive 4-star evaluations from Charity Navigator," said John L. Fiegel, interim president and CEO of Rebuilding Together. "This outstanding rating demonstrates our ability to serve the needs of low-income homeowners and communities in an efficient and cost effective manner and validates our mission to our donors, supporters, and our affiliates. We strive to be a fiscally responsible organization while increasing the capacity and outreach of our programs."

There are currently 6,000 homeowners in need on the Rebuilding Together waiting list depending on supporters like you. We believe that everyone deserves to live in a safe and healthy home. If you agree and would like to join our efforts, please visit us online to offer your support, look up your local affiliate to volunteer on an upcoming project, engage with us on social media and more. Your support helps your neighbors near and far with free critical home repairs. Home by Home, Block by Block, entire communities are transformed with your support.

Charity Navigator has awarded Rebuilding Together with a 4-star rating for the 9th year in a row. This mark of distinction places us in the top one percent of organizations evaluated. You can visit Charity Navigator’s website to review our profile, learn more about their methodologies and see their tips on being a savvy donor.

What does this rating mean to you? Our 4-star rating means that you can trust Rebuilding Together to use our resources responsibly to provide extensive home rehabilitation and modification services to homeowners in need at no cost to those we serve. Our work positively impacts the condition of the surrounding community as well through community center rehabilitation, playground builds, and partnerships with organizations focused on energy efficiency, sustainable community gardens, volunteer engagement, and education. With the help of everyday citizen volunteers, skilled tradespeople, and the support of local business and major corporate partners, Rebuilding Together affiliates make life better for thousands of low-income homeowners every year.

Rebuilding Together’s 4-star rating from Charity Navigator also means that when you support us, you are supporting one of the best safe and healthy housing organizations in the United States. According to Charity Navigator’s rating chart, a 4-star rating means we are exceptional because we exceed industry standards and outperform most charities in our cause. Our network of almost 200 affiliated non-profits brings together 200,000 volunteers and completes nearly 10,000 projects each year. For every $1 donated to Rebuilding Together, $4 of value is delivered to our projects. Collectively that’s over $1.3 billion in market value reinvested to date into the communities we serve. We encourage you to visit our profile on Charity Navigator to learn about our great financial health, accountability and transparency.

"Rebuilding Together is honored to be included in the top 1 percent of charities that have received at least nine consecutive 4-star evaluations from Charity Navigator," said John L. Fiegel, interim president and CEO of Rebuilding Together. "This outstanding rating demonstrates our ability to serve the needs of low-income homeowners and communities in an efficient and cost effective manner and validates our mission to our donors, supporters, and our affiliates. We strive to be a fiscally responsible organization while increasing the capacity and outreach of our programs."

There are currently 6,000 homeowners in need on the Rebuilding Together waiting list depending on supporters like you. We believe that everyone deserves to live in a safe and healthy home. If you agree and would like to join our efforts, please visit us online to offer your support, look up your local affiliate to volunteer on an upcoming project, engage with us on social media and more. Your support helps your neighbors near and far with free critical home repairs. Home by Home, Block by Block, entire communities are transformed with your support.

On February 1st, Rebuilding Together will celebrate our 18th Annual Kickoff to Rebuild, a Super Bowl sanctioned charity event. NFL stars Garrett Hartley and Robert Royal will join our volunteers as we renovate the homes of low-income homeowners in New Orleans. Below are just some of the stories of the people we are helping.
The Moores
Mr. and Mrs. Moore are childhood sweethearts who have been married for nearly 35 years. Mr. Moore served in the Navy for two years shortly after graduating from high school. The Moores’ eldest son and daughter share their father’s passion for service and joined the Air Force. Their daughter assisted her fellow New Orleanians during and after Hurricane Isaac. 
"I’ve been around the world, and no matter where you go, there ain’t no place quite like New Orleans," said Mr. Moore. The Moores plan on watching the Super Bowl together in their newly renovated home.
Anthony Hudson and Lauren Pope
Anthony Hudson joined the military after graduating high school and served one term as an Ammunition Specialist. While being stationed in Iraq, he watched as Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans. Ever since being honorably discharged, he has dedicated himself to improving the quality of life for his family and others around him.
Anthony and Lauren are engaged and have three children together. The renovations they’re receiving will make their house a safe and healthy home for their kids to grow up in. 
Lois Paige
Lois Paige has lived in New Orleans for over 90 years. This retired elementary school teacher, wife, and mother has been a strong contributor within her community. Her proudest moment came when her daughter graduated from Tulane University’s Newcomb College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education.
Due to arthritis and other health issues, it is difficult for Ms. Paige to move around her house. Ms. Paige receives excellent care from her daughter and a sense of security from living next door to her grandson. However, the critical home repairs she will receive will greatly better her quality of life. 

On February 1st, Rebuilding Together will celebrate our 18th Annual Kickoff to Rebuild, a Super Bowl sanctioned charity event. NFL stars Garrett Hartley and Robert Royal will join our volunteers as we renovate the homes of low-income homeowners in New Orleans. Below are just some of the stories of the people we are helping.

The Moores

Mr. and Mrs. Moore are childhood sweethearts who have been married for nearly 35 years. Mr. Moore served in the Navy for two years shortly after graduating from high school. The Moores’ eldest son and daughter share their father’s passion for service and joined the Air Force. Their daughter assisted her fellow New Orleanians during and after Hurricane Isaac. 

"I’ve been around the world, and no matter where you go, there ain’t no place quite like New Orleans," said Mr. Moore. The Moores plan on watching the Super Bowl together in their newly renovated home.

Anthony Hudson and Lauren Pope

Anthony Hudson joined the military after graduating high school and served one term as an Ammunition Specialist. While being stationed in Iraq, he watched as Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans. Ever since being honorably discharged, he has dedicated himself to improving the quality of life for his family and others around him.

Anthony and Lauren are engaged and have three children together. The renovations they’re receiving will make their house a safe and healthy home for their kids to grow up in. 

Lois Paige

Lois Paige has lived in New Orleans for over 90 years. This retired elementary school teacher, wife, and mother has been a strong contributor within her community. Her proudest moment came when her daughter graduated from Tulane University’s Newcomb College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education.

Due to arthritis and other health issues, it is difficult for Ms. Paige to move around her house. Ms. Paige receives excellent care from her daughter and a sense of security from living next door to her grandson. However, the critical home repairs she will receive will greatly better her quality of life. 

“What a Special Gift”
When Mary first contacted Rebuilding Together Aurora to see about getting her broken chairlift replaced, she had almost given hope of being able to leave her home. A ramp was out of the question for her from a financial standpoint, and due to the weakening of the muscles in her neck from her disability, being carried outside was painful and traumatic for her. It was October of 2012, and she hadn’t been outside of her house more than once in ten months.
Rebuilding Together Aurora was able to address her need for a new lift through the Safe at Home Program, funded by the City of Aurora’s Community Development Block Grant. Mary was amazed to hear that she would be able to use her lift before Christmas, and also a little bit skeptical; however, just about two months later she was able to roll out her back door and into the wider world. “The lift is just wonderful,” Mary says, glowing with excitement, “because I can scoot right out the door, no jostling!” Mary says while she wasn’t exactly lonely during her year in her house, having the company of her dogs and caregiver, she did get “cabin fever.” She would think of how nice it would be to get out and just run simple errands, to be able to see different things and make contact with a variety of people.
When asked where she planned on going to enjoy her regained freedom, Mary said, “I want to go to Ice Cream Drive,” where a popular shopping center is located. “So many of the stores that I like, all in one place.” Mary’s story reminds those of us who do not have mobility impairments of the aspects of life that we take for granted. Mary was overjoyed to have her lift ready in time for Christmas, as she’d been told it would be. “What a special gift! It would really be my pleasure to help anyone realize how wonderful this program is and how it can impact people’s lives.”

“What a Special Gift”

When Mary first contacted Rebuilding Together Aurora to see about getting her broken chairlift replaced, she had almost given hope of being able to leave her home. A ramp was out of the question for her from a financial standpoint, and due to the weakening of the muscles in her neck from her disability, being carried outside was painful and traumatic for her. It was October of 2012, and she hadn’t been outside of her house more than once in ten months.

Rebuilding Together Aurora was able to address her need for a new lift through the Safe at Home Program, funded by the City of Aurora’s Community Development Block Grant. Mary was amazed to hear that she would be able to use her lift before Christmas, and also a little bit skeptical; however, just about two months later she was able to roll out her back door and into the wider world. “The lift is just wonderful,” Mary says, glowing with excitement, “because I can scoot right out the door, no jostling!” Mary says while she wasn’t exactly lonely during her year in her house, having the company of her dogs and caregiver, she did get “cabin fever.” She would think of how nice it would be to get out and just run simple errands, to be able to see different things and make contact with a variety of people.

When asked where she planned on going to enjoy her regained freedom, Mary said, “I want to go to Ice Cream Drive,” where a popular shopping center is located. “So many of the stores that I like, all in one place.” Mary’s story reminds those of us who do not have mobility impairments of the aspects of life that we take for granted. Mary was overjoyed to have her lift ready in time for Christmas, as she’d been told it would be. “What a special gift! It would really be my pleasure to help anyone realize how wonderful this program is and how it can impact people’s lives.”

This is the second part of a three part story about a homeowner named Janelle Weikum. This post focuses on John Gaspari, the House Captain who worked on Janelle’s home. The final installment will focus on Janelle’s thoughts on her Rebuilding Together experience. 
John Gaspari, a member of Meredith Corporation’s IT management team, was the House Captain for Janelle Weikum’s home renovations. He first heard about Rebuilding Together through Meredith 11 years ago. He’s been volunteering with Rebuilding Together Greater Des Moines ever since.
Janelle suffers from a disease that makes it difficult for her to use her legs. It’s only Janelle and the three dogs she rescued in her home. Her son, Charlie, visits her every day to help care for her. 
Originally, Janelle only wanted John and his team of volunteers to install a door she bought herself. “She was very proud and it was hard for her to let us do stuff,” John explained.
Walking around Janelle’s home, John knew there was more work to be done. The stairs to the basement had fallen apart. This was a particularly dangerous situation for Janelle due to her limited mobility. Rain would seep into her basement and often clog the drain. Charlie would have to come unclog the drain to prevent Janelle’s basement from turning into a lake. John wanted to take the washer and dryer out of her basement so Janelle wouldn’t have to risk injury to do laundry. Due to the structure of her home, they had to get creative with how to move the large appliances. John installed a big window on the main floor of her home, which he put the washer and dryer through to get them on the main floor. If that wasn’t enough of a shock to see, Janelle was delighted that the new appliances coming in were a new washer and dryer set.
John also noticed that there was no paved path to the driveway. Janelle had to walk through her hilly front yard to get to her car. On his first visit to her home, Janelle fell four times standing on her front lawn. John, Charlie, a landscaper, and Charlie’s boss created a clear path for her to use to get from her porch to her car. Charlie’s boss also donated plants to beautify Janelle’s lawn.
“Janelle does everything she can for herself,” said John. “She just couldn’t do this herself. God gave me the ability to put two feet on the floor, to swing a hammer, and people like Janelle can’t do that. Just because she can’t do it herself, doesn’t mean she can’t have it or doesn’t deserve it.”
“I felt a connection with Janelle. It was the right project for me, the right time to be doing it, and she was the right person,” John said thinking back on his time with her. “Janelle is a special person and one of the few I’ve tried to keep in touch with.”

This is the second part of a three part story about a homeowner named Janelle Weikum. This post focuses on John Gaspari, the House Captain who worked on Janelle’s home. The final installment will focus on Janelle’s thoughts on her Rebuilding Together experience.

John Gaspari, a member of Meredith Corporation’s IT management team, was the House Captain for Janelle Weikum’s home renovations. He first heard about Rebuilding Together through Meredith 11 years ago. He’s been volunteering with Rebuilding Together Greater Des Moines ever since.

Janelle suffers from a disease that makes it difficult for her to use her legs. It’s only Janelle and the three dogs she rescued in her home. Her son, Charlie, visits her every day to help care for her. 

Originally, Janelle only wanted John and his team of volunteers to install a door she bought herself. “She was very proud and it was hard for her to let us do stuff,” John explained.

Walking around Janelle’s home, John knew there was more work to be done. The stairs to the basement had fallen apart. This was a particularly dangerous situation for Janelle due to her limited mobility. Rain would seep into her basement and often clog the drain. Charlie would have to come unclog the drain to prevent Janelle’s basement from turning into a lake. John wanted to take the washer and dryer out of her basement so Janelle wouldn’t have to risk injury to do laundry. Due to the structure of her home, they had to get creative with how to move the large appliances. John installed a big window on the main floor of her home, which he put the washer and dryer through to get them on the main floor. If that wasn’t enough of a shock to see, Janelle was delighted that the new appliances coming in were a new washer and dryer set.

John also noticed that there was no paved path to the driveway. Janelle had to walk through her hilly front yard to get to her car. On his first visit to her home, Janelle fell four times standing on her front lawn. John, Charlie, a landscaper, and Charlie’s boss created a clear path for her to use to get from her porch to her car. Charlie’s boss also donated plants to beautify Janelle’s lawn.

“Janelle does everything she can for herself,” said John. “She just couldn’t do this herself. God gave me the ability to put two feet on the floor, to swing a hammer, and people like Janelle can’t do that. Just because she can’t do it herself, doesn’t mean she can’t have it or doesn’t deserve it.”

“I felt a connection with Janelle. It was the right project for me, the right time to be doing it, and she was the right person,” John said thinking back on his time with her. “Janelle is a special person and one of the few I’ve tried to keep in touch with.”

longlivethepublic:

Rebuilding Together of Richmond.

Love in action. If this doesn’t put a smile on your face…

Mrs. Folden Perseveres With a Smile
Neil Folden bought his family home in 1973, and for much of that time has served as the maintainer of their home. However, recent medical troubles have greatly diminished Neil’s capability of keeping up his home. Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley was there to help the Foldens out.
Neil met his wife, Linda, while they both worked in San Francisco’s Naval Shipyard. While Neil was working in the Shipyard’s Navy Reserve, Linda was doing data entry work. Neil had previously served as a fire technician during the Vietnam War.
The couple bought their San Jose home in 1973, which Neil added a sunroom and patio himself while working for the Federal Aviation Administration. Neil also prided himself on being able to complete all the home repairs.
Neil, 74, suffered a stroke and both he and Linda, 70, were diagnosed with congestive heart failure soon after. Neil and Linda had to have pacemakers implanted to help with their condition.
Linda took up the mantle of being the home’s primary caretaker after Neil’s stroke. She started fixing their bathroom, but had to abandon the project midway due to breaking her ankle. Their bathroom was hazardous and difficult to use for the elderly couple due to their limited mobility. Their sunken shower made it dangerous for them to get in and out of the bath, and their toilet was far too low.
Last Christmas, a small electrical fire broke out in a living room wall. Neil, unable to fix the faulty circuit, resorted to having to leave the wall open with dangerous wires still protruding out. Their kitchen also had an electrical fire due to their outdated electricity.
Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley was able to give the Foldens an easy to use bathroom and an updated electrical system with energy efficient features. They worked to replace the home’s rotting eaves, finish partially installed gutters, and repair cracked windows that were in nearly every room. The home was also made safer by Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley’s installation of grab bars and smoke detectors.
Along with Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley, Neil and Linda saw support from their local community through their newspaper, Evergreen Times, and Councilwoman Rose Herrera of San Jose.
Sadly, Neil passed away a month after the renovations were completed on his home. Linda still resides in the home.

Mrs. Folden Perseveres With a Smile

Neil Folden bought his family home in 1973, and for much of that time has served as the maintainer of their home. However, recent medical troubles have greatly diminished Neil’s capability of keeping up his home. Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley was there to help the Foldens out.

Neil met his wife, Linda, while they both worked in San Francisco’s Naval Shipyard. While Neil was working in the Shipyard’s Navy Reserve, Linda was doing data entry work. Neil had previously served as a fire technician during the Vietnam War.

The couple bought their San Jose home in 1973, which Neil added a sunroom and patio himself while working for the Federal Aviation Administration. Neil also prided himself on being able to complete all the home repairs.

Neil, 74, suffered a stroke and both he and Linda, 70, were diagnosed with congestive heart failure soon after. Neil and Linda had to have pacemakers implanted to help with their condition.

Linda took up the mantle of being the home’s primary caretaker after Neil’s stroke. She started fixing their bathroom, but had to abandon the project midway due to breaking her ankle. Their bathroom was hazardous and difficult to use for the elderly couple due to their limited mobility. Their sunken shower made it dangerous for them to get in and out of the bath, and their toilet was far too low.

Last Christmas, a small electrical fire broke out in a living room wall. Neil, unable to fix the faulty circuit, resorted to having to leave the wall open with dangerous wires still protruding out. Their kitchen also had an electrical fire due to their outdated electricity.

Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley was able to give the Foldens an easy to use bathroom and an updated electrical system with energy efficient features. They worked to replace the home’s rotting eaves, finish partially installed gutters, and repair cracked windows that were in nearly every room. The home was also made safer by Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley’s installation of grab bars and smoke detectors.

Along with Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley, Neil and Linda saw support from their local community through their newspaper, Evergreen Times, and Councilwoman Rose Herrera of San Jose.

Sadly, Neil passed away a month after the renovations were completed on his home. Linda still resides in the home.

Ms. Purnell Not Only Gives Those In Need a Roof, She Provides Family. 
Ms. Purnell has lived in the Overbrook neighborhood of Philadelphia for 40 years, almost half of her life. It’s where she raised her children and watched them go off into the world. After having an empty nest, she became unsatisfied with her hospital work. Ms. Purnell had a yearning to help even more people. She had a destiny.
"I was bringing sandwiches to people I saw on the streets, but I knew I could do more," explained Ms. Purnell as she sat at her dining room table. “I started to take people in off the streets – I had a large home and knew I should be sharing it. I want to care for these people.”
Ms. Purnell offered sanctuary to people abandoned by their own families or who had fallen on hard times. Her house is now a home to people with mental and physical disabilities. She found people to take in from hospital social workers whose patients needed a place to live. Ms. Purnell is now famous around the area’s hospitals and the Department of Public Welfare.
This need to help has evolved into the funded, social service operation known as Labor of Love. Ms. Purnell operates three homes in Overbrook under Labor of love. These homes shelter about 20 new family members at a time.
“These are people with no one else to turn to. Eighty percent of them do not have any family. They’d be out on the street if they didn’t have Labor of Love,” Ms. Purnell said.
She focused on Dennis, a resident since 1973. “I’ve had hundreds of people come and go through my home and program. But he’s been here pretty much from the beginning.” Her other residents lounge in the living room or enjoy the sun on the front porch.
Her house doesn’t just serve as a shelter; it acts as a Labor of Love museum. Countless photos hang from the walls, featuring the people who have been housed and loved by Ms. Purnell. “These are all the people who’ve lived in my home and been part of Labor of Love. These people are my family.”
It isn’t easy to operate three homes and sustain human lives. “All this time, no one has ever asked to help me. I’ve had to do everything myself to keep this place running. I even hung the fire escapes myself.”
Rebuilding Together Philadelphia worked to ensure that Labor of Love could continue to be a safe and healthy environment for Ms. Purnell and her extended family. Rebuilding Together Philadelphia gave Labor of Love energy efficient upgrades, installed new kitchen sinks, countertops, and window treatments, put in a new stove, secured the 3rd floor main stair handrail, and renovated their food storage closet. They also painted the kitchen ceiling and walls, the ceiling and wood paneling in the dining and living room.
On the renovations, Ms. Purnell said, “It’s a God send, I am so grateful for the help. I can just cry, knowing that there are people who want to help make my home better. Homes offer comfort and contentment. The people in Labor of Love feel the same way; they know that it means to have a place to sleep.”

Ms. Purnell Not Only Gives Those In Need a Roof, She Provides Family.

Ms. Purnell has lived in the Overbrook neighborhood of Philadelphia for 40 years, almost half of her life. It’s where she raised her children and watched them go off into the world. After having an empty nest, she became unsatisfied with her hospital work. Ms. Purnell had a yearning to help even more people. She had a destiny.

"I was bringing sandwiches to people I saw on the streets, but I knew I could do more," explained Ms. Purnell as she sat at her dining room table. “I started to take people in off the streets – I had a large home and knew I should be sharing it. I want to care for these people.”

Ms. Purnell offered sanctuary to people abandoned by their own families or who had fallen on hard times. Her house is now a home to people with mental and physical disabilities. She found people to take in from hospital social workers whose patients needed a place to live. Ms. Purnell is now famous around the area’s hospitals and the Department of Public Welfare.

This need to help has evolved into the funded, social service operation known as Labor of Love. Ms. Purnell operates three homes in Overbrook under Labor of love. These homes shelter about 20 new family members at a time.

“These are people with no one else to turn to. Eighty percent of them do not have any family. They’d be out on the street if they didn’t have Labor of Love,” Ms. Purnell said.

She focused on Dennis, a resident since 1973. “I’ve had hundreds of people come and go through my home and program. But he’s been here pretty much from the beginning.” Her other residents lounge in the living room or enjoy the sun on the front porch.

Her house doesn’t just serve as a shelter; it acts as a Labor of Love museum. Countless photos hang from the walls, featuring the people who have been housed and loved by Ms. Purnell. “These are all the people who’ve lived in my home and been part of Labor of Love. These people are my family.”

It isn’t easy to operate three homes and sustain human lives. “All this time, no one has ever asked to help me. I’ve had to do everything myself to keep this place running. I even hung the fire escapes myself.”

Rebuilding Together Philadelphia worked to ensure that Labor of Love could continue to be a safe and healthy environment for Ms. Purnell and her extended family. Rebuilding Together Philadelphia gave Labor of Love energy efficient upgrades, installed new kitchen sinks, countertops, and window treatments, put in a new stove, secured the 3rd floor main stair handrail, and renovated their food storage closet. They also painted the kitchen ceiling and walls, the ceiling and wood paneling in the dining and living room.

On the renovations, Ms. Purnell said, “It’s a God send, I am so grateful for the help. I can just cry, knowing that there are people who want to help make my home better. Homes offer comfort and contentment. The people in Labor of Love feel the same way; they know that it means to have a place to sleep.”