By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
About 50 people from the Prairie Grove Christian Church in Arkansas have been building a home on Joe Smith road to replace one that was destroyed in the Christmas Day tornado.
More than a dozen homes were destroyed or damaged in that storm, and as a result many people were left without a home.
Now one resident affected by the tornado, Lynn Smith, is getting a head start on building a home to replace the one she lost.
Mallory Jenkins, a representative of the Prairie Grove Christian Church, said she and more than 100 other volunteers have been in south Mississippi building two homes, one in McNeill and the other in Wiggins. The work by the two crews will produce a home with walls, roof, plumbing and electrical wiring. Jenkins said the remaining work, including drywall and insulation, will be the responsibility of the homeowners.
Jenkins estimates their work will save Smith more than $30,000 of the cost of rebuilding her home.
The teams arrived Saturday afternoon and began work Sunday morning. By Wednesday afternoon the walls were up and volunteers were already putting up the roof. Jenkins estimated they would be done with their work by Thursday.
Money to take the 13-hour trip and to do the work came from their church’s ministry, along with a grant from a disaster relief organization. Jenkins said the organization has been helping victims of disasters for more than a decade, and this is her sixth year of participating.
“It’s just a learning experience. It helps you step outside of yourself,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins said she and her fellow volunteers could be at the beach during their spring break, but she said seeing the smile on Smith’s face was worth the effort.