Eighty-five-year-old Annie Ball fell last year through the rotting wood on the side of her back porch at her Gurnee Avenue home, breaking four ribs, knocking a knee out of socket and injuring her shoulder.
It was then, Ball said, she knew her porch needed an upgrade.
Local volunteers spent much of Saturday building porches and ramps, making repairs, painting and landscaping at seven homes, including Ball’s, and a soon-to-open grocery store offering free food in Anniston.
The volunteers extended Ball’s porch and added handrails, making it safer for her to go in and out of her home.
“If it hadn’t been for them, I couldn’t have gotten it,” Ball said of the volunteers.
Amanda Pinson, who heads Habitat for Humanity of Calhoun County, said Habitat for Humanity members, along with staff at Bridgewater Interiors and the Anniston Housing Authority, worked from around 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Pinson said many of these homes needed ramps and rails built for the elderly and disabled.
“Most of these homeowners are elderly,” Pinson said. “In order for them to live in their home and to maintain coming and going, they need the rails and the ramps.”
Pinson said Servant of Jesus, which operates a food bank, is planning to open a grocery store that gives out free food to those in need and needed a ramp that met building codes.
The repair efforts were an initiative by Project Pride, a partnership between her organization, the Community Development Corporation, the West Anniston Foundation and Resurrect Community.
According to Pinson, the groups first had the idea for the home repairs months ago. Project Pride founder Anngenette English said the groups’ main priority is to make homes safer for the elderly and disabled.
Habitat for Humanity board member Larunda Jordan said she spent the first part of the day delivering supplies to teams at different places before joining a team and helping with repairs at a home on 17th Street.
“We fixed her mailbox. I went and got cement and painted it. We all worked together,” Jordan said. “That house is going to look very cute.”
Bridgewater Interiors materials manager Lekeicha Lilly, who worked at a house on Cobb Avenue, said it took her and other volunteers nearly three hours to build a 12-foot porch for an elderly couple.
“I think it did wonders for them,” Lilly said. “They said they’ve been there 40 to 50 years, and they’d never had a porch.”
Ball said the volunteers plan to come back another day to paint the porch.
“It’s going to be beautiful,” Ball said. “I’m so proud.”
Ball said she’s looking forward to sitting on her porch each morning, drinking her coffee and reading the newspaper, once the renovations are complete.
“It’s so much safer, with me being as old as I am,” Ball said. “I am so grateful and thankful for it.”
Despite a two-and-a-half hour delay that morning, Pinson said at noon the home repairs went “exceptionally well.”
“To see people coming together, working together, in our community is a huge blessing to all the organizations that are involved,” Pinson said.