One day after work, Anna came home to bad news. Yakama Nation Housing was going to close down the housing project where she and her family lived. There were roughly 90 families who needed to find new housing within the next two months.
As Anna’s community wondered where they would go and where they would get the money to move, her family was fortunate to know that they could always go back to their grandmother’s house.
“My grandparents had left their house to my mother, who had quadruple by-pass surgery in 2010 and still has heart and mobility issues. It is an old house and needs lots of work, so my mother never wanted to live there and she opted to rent it out. But, our plan was to move back to the old family house,” she explained. They didn’t realize the extent of the rundown condition of the house.
“The family that my mother was renting the house to had decided not to pay their garbage bill, and had let the garbage pile into the size of a small mountain. The stench was awful! The house hadn’t been painted in over forty years and the front steps were very steep,” Anna recounted.
It was when Anna was working for the Yakama Nation Area Agency on Aging, that she first learned of Catholic Charities’ Volunteer Services.
“I told my mother about the program because she felt overwhelmed by the work that needed to be done and also by the price of it all. The next day, she came into the office to fill out an application. I believe it was maybe a month later that a group come out to help clean up the property.”
So, Anna put on some old clothes and a hat and went to work right alongside the group. There were five to six trailers full of garbage that went to the dump.
“It was so beautiful to see the finished site. I know it took a lot of stress off my mother. It gave her one less thing to worry about because we still have a lot of work to do inside,” she said. “The volunteers also painted the house a beautiful baby blue color and built a ramp so my mother could get in and out of the house easier. My mother and I are grateful for the selflessness of the volunteers. They are truly a blessing to elders who are in need.”