Roughly three-quarters of a mile down a dusty dirt road sits a home. This home has raised three children into adults, and seen a few hurricanes in its 13 years, but nothing like Florence. Ms. Ingrid, the owner, told us that the road it sits on runs through family land.

As soon as her ancestors got off the boat at Ellis Island they made their way to coastal NC to settle. They were fisherman by trade, shrimpers to be exact, and the land they lived on bumps right up to the Intracoastal Waterway.

Ms. Ingred grew up surrounded by family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and it’s still that way. Looking around the home, you can see it was filled with love. Family pictures are on the walls, with a mixture of certificates of achievement.

Since the storm, the home has felt more like a house and has been filled with struggle. Ms. Ingrid has visited the hospital more than once for respiratory issues related to mold exposure from her home. She’s dependent on oxygen and currently undergoes dialysis once a week. Her daughter stays with her a few days each week, providing transportation and grocery shopping.

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, NC Catholics Volunteer partnered with the Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry (WARM) to complete repair work on Ms. Ingrid’s home. WARM’s mission is to repair, rebuild, and make homes accessible; and to inspire service, generosity, and hope. They serve low-income homeowners in Brunswick, New Hanover, and Pender counties, many of whom are elderly and/or disabled.

Warm is also currently assisting those who can’t afford costly Hurricane Florence repairs. Through partnership and collaboration, NC Catholics Volunteers provided volunteer labor while WARM provided the tools, supplies, and an on-site contractor to complete the work.

As the group started their morning’s work, they divided into teams. Team one began in the living room, moving furniture around and ripping out what was left of the carpet. From there, the group removed linoleum flooring, exposing the subflooring – which was in good shape. Nails and staples were then hammered down, creating a smooth surface.

Mr. Cary, one of the volunteers for the day, under the guidance of the on-site contractor Chris, cut the Luan flooring that will lie on top of the subflooring, creating a surface for the vinyl tile. As Mr. Cary cut the flooring, Dani, a Catholic Charities Disaster Case Manager, stapled the pieces down.

While half the team was working in the living room area, team two discovered a surprise in the dining room. After cautiously moving furniture, team two removed linoleum from the dining area and discovered a soft, rotten area of the floor.

The site contractor, Chris, needed to develop a plan of action to remove and repair the area. After some troubleshooting, it was decided that the bad flooring would be removed and a brace would be added to one of the studs. The area would then be treated for mold growth, allowed to dry, and the subflooring replaced. With a plan in place, the volunteers began the first step of the process, clearing out the damaged flooring.

Back in the living room, following a much deserved break for lunch, the second layer of flooring was installed and primed for the vinyl tile. Volunteers quickly learned how sticky things get, as their hands were covered in adhesive and their fingers began sticking together. A few hours and over 135 sq ft later, Ms. Ingrid had a new floor.

The dinning room project developed into more than this group could complete in their day on the worksite. The group was able to complete installation of the subflooring, creating a strong foundation for the next set of volunteers.

As this team of NC Catholics Volunteer wrapped up the day, they moved furniture back into the living room, as the space began to look like a home again. However, her kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms still needed repairs, projects which could potentially take up to a month before being completed.

WARM will be there every step of the way, and NC Catholics Volunteers will continue to support this much needed work in the community.