Charlotte Smith, 83, has lived in her Richmond Heights house since 1959.
A 1,228-square-foot home, where she and her husband raised three daughters and two sons, is her sanctuary, where remains with her youngest son Eric, 50. Every day, she spends time caring for her house, resting and meditating.
“[Before] we lived in South Miami and then we wanted to have children and we heard about this community,” Smith said. “We were in an apartment and I said to my husband, ‘I don’t want to live in an apartment and raise children.’ He said, ‘OK, when we get on our feet, we’ll get some money on the side and we’ll go house shopping.’”
Her husband died in 2013. Smith recently contacted Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade, a nonprofit organization and charitable partner of Lowe’s that provides low-income homeowners with critical home repairs to revitalize the communities in which they live.
After a two-and-a-half-year wait, Rebuilding Together, Lowe’s and 20 volunteers, visited Smith, to rebuild and fix certain parts of her home.
“I think it’s good when they’re able to help the ones that need help,” Smith said. “A friend of mine told me they were redoing houses and you qualify with your income. I had my son look into it and he did, and I qualified.”
On Thursday, April 21, the group worked on Smith’s house, painting the outside, installing new windows, landscaping and doing bathroom work. Lowe’s paid for the work with a $15,000 grant/
Previously, Rebuilding Together did pressure cleaning and other work on the Smith house.
“As soon as we can get funding to do a home, we just like to come out here and get them done as soon as we can,” said Sydney Turner, 23, Americorps project coordinator for Rebuilding Together. “We just always have the opportunity to meet the most amazing people in the community, especially people like Mrs. Smith who have been in their home for over 50 years.”
Rebuilding Together’s local affiliates and nearly 100,000 volunteers complete about 10,000 rebuilding projects each year. This fall, Lowe’s awarded the nonprofit $450,000 to 33 rebuilding affiliates to invest in the reconstruction of low-income homes.
Since the partnership began in 2007, Lowe’s has contributed more than $12 million, along with the support of 3,000 employee volunteers, helping an estimated 15,000 people.
“This is one out of four events that our location is going to be doing in 2016,” said Elliot Vargas, 38, store manager at Lowe’s Hialeah, who was part of the volunteer work during Thursday’s event.
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