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Community joins to do some good for a family

The neighbor sought to help a friend.

The Christian couldn't say no to her four kids.

The roofers canceled a weekend beach vacation.

A mother and daughter drove down from Wesley Chapel ready to scrub and clean.

The repair man came ready to patch up the air conditioning.

The cabinetmaker showed up with his tool belt.

The publicist spread the word, and then jumped in to help.

The painter brought over cans of olive green.

The businessmen donated money.

The furniture company gave bedding.

The stranger dropped off cookies.

The family camped at a hotel, waiting for the renovations that would turn their house into a home.

Community came to life at a block house in East Tampa last weekend.

It started Sept. 8 with a plan that grew as the community discovered more needs.

They looked on with smiles four days later as the kids jumped for joy and the mother broke down in tears.

"It's just a lot of good people with good hearts trying to do something good for a family," said Jason Sowell, who leads a faith-based nonprofit called Current that organized the effort through its Hope For Homes program.

"Everyone should want to sacrifice for the betterment of someone else and their life challenges."

Frankie Jones proved a gracious recipient. The flat roof over her master bedroom, poorly installed by a previous contractor, sagged and leaked from gathering rainwater. In that damp environment, mold festered.

She no longer could use the bedroom, leaving her and the kids sleeping in the living room. As the problems grew worse, she grew more weary.

"I just felt everything was out of control," Jones said.

Jones struggled to find help for herself, largely because she spent so much time helping others. A prekindergarten teacher at Edison Elementary with a degree from Springfield College, Jones devotes her days to nurturing 4-year-olds and her nights caring for the four children she adopted.

Through the years, she's also given temporary shelter to foster kids. Sowell joked that at least 10 people came by and asked, "What are you doing to my mama's house?"

While at Springfield College, she raised book money for incoming students.

"I love doing it. It's God's work," Jones said.

Now she has a new mission. Jones says she hopes to share her story with other businesses so they can lend greater support to Current's efforts, which also includes a Laundry of Love initiative that allows the needy to wash their clothes for free.

"When one hand connects to the other hand, it gives you strength," Jones said. "When you start connecting hands, it gives you power and with power you can really do things."

Learn more at www.engagethecurrent.org or homesbycurrent.org.

As Jones sat, her feet resting on clean tiles and her back pressed against a comfortable couch, she looked both relieved and empowered. She said she gained strength from the generous effort and was now determined to do even more to improve her home.

But one decorative touch was already in place. Inscribed on a piece above the television were these simple words: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread.

That's all I'm saying.

Community joins to do some good for a family 09/15/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 15, 2011 10:45pm]
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