It’s difficult to ignore the alarming, unsafe condition of some of the homes inhabited by our Sea Island neighbors. Many have spent their entire lives on a property, and are now seniors alone in a home without the means for ongoing upkeep or repair.
Community Home Improvement Program (CHIP Ministry) is an outreach program for the historic Johns Island Presbyterian Church and Kiawah Cares partner. With a dedicated group of volunteer parishioners, sometimes assisted by visiting mission groups, they help Sea Islanders stay in their homes by providing much-needed repairs. CHIP Ministry’s objective is to make these homes safe and habitable, enabling longtime residents to remain in the growing Sea Island community.
With your support during Kiawah Giving Month, CHIP Ministry will be able to complete six of the repairs on their vetted list of about 25 homes. This list includes those with the greatest needs in terms of repair. All six projects benefit seniors who live alone with similar needs—roofing, plumbing and electrical repairs, drywall and floor replacement, and painting.
For example, a tree fell through the roof of 95-year-old Miss Louise’s Johns Island home and she has not been able to replace or repair it. As a result, the interior is also suffering damage. Miss Louise is the most severe example but other needs are just as vital to the seniors concerned. Miss Anita of Johns Island needs both her front and back doors replaced, one of which will not open at all.
Water damage is also a major problem in the humidity of the islands; roof and crawlspace joist failures often lead to severe water damage and rot, leading to black mold. It’s not uncommon for seniors to become ill due to these poor conditions. Often these homeowners begin a repair, only to discover more and more damage as they go. This damage can be overwhelming to a senior homeowner, advancing to the point of destroying furniture and appliances. (If you are interested in donating these materials, please understand the volunteers have limitations with trucks and manpower, and often need some time to pull this together. Storage space can also be a challenge.)
By helping to restore a senior’s home, you ensure that their remaining years are safe and comfortable within their own communities. When you make a gift during Kiawah Giving Month, it shows these Sea Island seniors that they are not alone, that we care.