PEMBROKE — Residents living in the Odum Baptist Home for Children are seeing an Extreme Home Makeover right in their own house.
Volunteers from across the state have been renovating the Indian Memorial and Latta Harnett Cottages, which house children in the Odum Home’s care.
“The children ask, ‘Why do they want to do this for us,’” said Kathy Locklear, the Odum Home residential services coordinator. “And we tell them that it’s because these people love them and care about where they live. Our volunteers are making a huge difference.”
Odum Home offers residential services for children in crisis. Children live in group homes with professionally-trained child care workers who provide a structured, family environment. The staff helps children overcome a variety of challenges, ranging from social and anger issues to situations of abuse, neglect and abandonment.
Odum Home maintenance supervisor Jackie Spillers says that members from Berea, and all the participating volunteers, have renovated the two cottages from “the floor and up.”
At the already completed Latta Harnett Cottage, carpet has been replaced by hardwood floors. The walls have been painted with warmer colors. New counter tops and flooring have transformed the kitchens.
“The cottage has a much warmer feel to it,” Spillers says. “For the children, it looks and feels more like a home.”
Odum Home is a part of Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, a nonprofit child care agency that depends on the generosity of volunteers, churches, and other donors to meet the daily needs of children.
“In these economic times it would not be possible for these much-needed renovations to take place if it weren’t for our volunteers,” said Sandy Perry, regional director for Baptist Children’s Homes’ Eastern Area Family Services. “Not only have they brought with them the necessary talents to complete these projects, but they have brought the gift of kindness.”
Renovations are still ongoing at Indian Memorial Cottage.
The 70 churches that comprise the Burnt Swamp Baptist Association in Pembroke contributed more than $10,000 to provide necessary materials for Indian Memorial Cottage.
“Historically, the Indian community here has felt an uncommon affection for Odum Home and its ministry for coming to the aid of defenseless children,” says Mike Cummings, associational missionary for the Burnt Swamp Association. “We’ve enjoyed our relationship with Odum Home because the ministry continues to come to the defense of children. We take our part very seriously and like to be engaged in whatever opportunities we have before us.”
Individual donors and foundations have also made significant contributions. Participating foundations include the Campbell Soup Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, the BB&T Charitable Foundation, and the Florence Rogers Charitable Trust.
Berea Baptist Church is one of the primary volunteer providers from the Pembroke community. The church is only one block from the Odum Home campus.
“This is our community, and it would be a shame for us to be this close and not come across the street to help,” said Hector Miray, assistant pastor at Berea.