Sumter United Ministries helps nearly blind elderly woman with roof, walkway repair


Each week through the summer months, The Sumter Item is continuing to ask for our readers to donate money that we will give to Sumter United Ministries, a nonprofit that provides essential services to those in need.

We didn't receive any donations last week, but the need remains as we enter some of the hotter months of summer during this sixth-annual fundraiser. Summer of Caring directly benefits people in Sumter who need housing repairs, help with unexpected bills, medical attention, education assistance and emergency services such as shelter, clothing and food.

SUM cannot operate without the generosity of individuals' donations. It works off grants and you. Every penny donated to Summer of Caring will go to SUM to help real people like Mrs. B. While her name is being withheld to protect her privacy, SUM Construction Ministry Coordinator Heath Sharrar shared an experience he recently had with a client after she passed the interview process required to be eligible for SUM services.

Here Sharrar's story of Mrs. B.

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I had the privilege of working on the home of Mrs. B. The first time we met, she led me around to show me what needed repairs. She would often pause to ask me if we could do various little tasks, things like moving some bricks to straighten a path or repair some small bits of siding.

She was nervous to ask all of these things because we had already agreed to come and repair her roof. She didn't want to impose, but I knew the crew could handle the extra little tasks.

Looking at her home, the home itself and surrounding garden are beautifully tended.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered Mrs. B is nearly blind. She loves tending to her plants and could name every single one she has in her yard.

Mrs. B can't hardly see anymore, but what she does see is straight through to a person's heart. Her years of caring for other people's children flows from a heart who loves so deeply there seems to be no end. Even as her ceiling over her bed was on the verge of caving in, she couldn't help but check on each of the youth who were working on her home.

Every time I would stop by to say hello and see how the progress on her home was coming, she would give me a hug, smile and say, "There's my Heath." Most of my time with her was spent listening to her stories about how Sumter has changed over the years. Businesses that have come and gone, schools she went to that don't exist anymore and her friends and neighbors who have gone.

She reminds me of my own grandmother, and I think that is why she is so special.

Sumter has many grandmothers and grandfathers in need, just looking for neighbors and friends to help out.

I am so honored that I got to work for her. Her roof no longer leaks, her ceiling is repaired, and she no longer has to fear stumbling on her path to her garden.

Donations last week through Monday, July 8, include: $0