A local ministry aims to help home-bound seniors who need home repairs or other assistance.
The North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry is a statewide ministry whose mission is to help seniors older than 65 to remain in their homes as long as safely possible and to help support their spiritual and emotional needs. They are funded by the Baptist State Convention, Baptist churches and individual donations.
Tim Hawks is the pastor of New Hope Baptist Church on Highway 73 west in Ellerbe. He was approached in the spring by an Albemarle pastor about starting this ministry in Richmond County. After discussing this with his deacons, he said the church “was excited and ready to jump on board.”
“This ministry is to help seniors who live in their own homes but are financially or physically limited and can’t repair their homes,” said Hawks, the bi-vocational pastor of the church, where he has been pastor for eight years. Hawks also owns Richmond Block & Brick in Rockingham.
The first project of what the church hopes will be many was the home of an elderly couple in Anson County.
“Their home needed repairs. Basically, the house was falling in. The floor was sagging, there was mold up under the house and the couple was physically disabled and on very strict, limited income,” said Hawks. “We deemed it not worth fixing. So we found them a mobile home and moved it into their backyard. They are going to tear the house down. It was a huge project for a small, rural church, with less than 50 active members.”
Hawks’ wife Diana said the repairs can include building a handicap ramp, widening doors, fixing a roof leak or a toilet.
“The church committee will go and survey when we have a request and when all other resources — county, city — have been exhausted, that’s when we step in and help them out,” said Hawks. “Some people don’t know how to apply for help, so when they call us with a question, we can tell them where to go.”
Hawks’ church members also share tips with seniors on how to stay safe and protect their information.
“It’s so sad that there are people who take advantage of seniors,” said Hawks.
“I didn’t realize the need there was out there for senior adults until I got involved in this,” said Hawks. “It’s hard work, but it’s a blessing.”
New Hope Baptist Church in Ellerbe hosts a country buffet breakfast on the second Saturday of every month, from 7 to 10 a.m.
“But not this Saturday,” said Hawks. “This Saturday we’re having a barbecue supper at the Ellerbe Civitan, from 5 to 7 p.m. We will have a bluegrass gospel group called The Ingram Family, from West End. Tickets are $15 for the meal and music. You don’t need tickets to come but we just want to be able to figure out how much food to get. But people won’t be turned away. For tickets, people can call 910-652-6528. Of these fundraisers, 100 percent of every dime goes back into the community.”
“As God leads people to come to our church, I want to take it a step further to going into the homes of seniors to visit,” said Hawks. “Some people are just lonely.”
“If you go home and flip the light on and the bulb goes out, you think nothing of climbing on a chair and changing it,” said Diana. “What if you are an 85-year-old woman with a walker? Do you know how hard it can be for a senior to get fitted sheets on their bed?”
Tim Hawks said he feels that much could be accomplished in the home of a physically limited senior with the help of an able bodied youth. Hawks has a vision of bringing the ministry into the homes of seniors who aren’t mobile but still need the company and to have their spirits lifted.
“That’s what it’s all about,” said Hawks.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.