Churches, Habitat for Humanity help family

By Tammy Keith Originally Published January 13, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated January 10, 2013 at 5:50 p.m.
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PHOTO BY: Rusty Hubbard

Standing, from the left, Robin Richards, Shenel Sandidge, Caleb Price, Caitlin Price and Danny Smith, pastor of CrossPoint Baptist Church, watch as Amy Price signs paperwork for ownership of a soon-to-be renovated trailer. Cacie Skidmore, 4, Amy's daughter, draws while the signing takes place.

Amy Price said she and her three children suffer from allergies because of the exposed insulation in their makeshift home, which is one reason they’re excited to get into a trailer provided by her church and refurbished with help from Habitat for Humanity of Faulkner County.

“I’m really excited, and compared to living like that for several months, it seems huge,” she said of the fixer-upper trailer.

Price, 33, of Holland, is a single mother of three children, ages 15, 13 and 4.

Robin Richards, a member of CrossPoint Baptist Church in Greenbrier, called Price one day with good news.

Price, who has health problems, was in the emergency room at the time.

Richards said Price brought her children to the church on Wednesday nights for a hot meal. During those times, she talked about her living situation with other church members.

“God just really laid this woman on my heart. I could not let it go,” Richards said.

Price said she thought it was a prank when Richards, whom she hadn’t met, said, ‘We’re going to help you get a house.’”

“I’m really not used to good things happening to me,” Price said.

She said she got married at 18 and had two children, but she divorced her husband after he was jailed for battery.

Price said she had a second long-term relationship but didn’t marry the father of her third child.

She said health problems make it difficult for her to work full time, although she cleans houses and helps her mother in Conway in exchange for money for utilities.

“We just always barely get by, and it’s really stressful,” Price said. She said she doesn’t receive child support and doesn’t have insurance.

She also said her father, who was “like my best friend,” died in 2010, which led to Price having depression.

She stayed for a while with her mother, who has had breast cancer twice and works part time.

However, her mother lives in rental-assistance housing, Price said, and is not allowed to have other tenants.

Price found land and started a “rent-to-own” plan. The carport, which had a metal roof, existed on the property, so she built a wooden structure from there, with help from friends.

She keeps their home as neat and clean as possible, but it isn’t ideal.

The exposed insulation is one problem.

“We all have sinus headaches, and I really think it’s from the insulation and the moisture,” she said.

“I wasn’t brought up to live like that, and that wasn’t my intention to live that way,” she said. “That was just the best I could do.

“Honestly, it’s a little bit embarrassing. I’ve distanced myself from most of my friends. It’s kind of like we went camping and never came home.”

Good things are starting to happen for the family, though.

CrossPoint Baptist Church collected $1,500 for the trailer and it was moved to the property.

Richards said CrossPoint Baptist Church has partnered with New Life Church in Conway, in addition to Habitat for Humanity of Faulkner County.

Shenel Sandidge, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Faulkner County, said Habitat has some tile and other materials that will be used for fixing up the trailer, and college students, community and church volunteers will work on the project.

Habitat for Humanity of Faulkner County is helping with the project through A Brush With Kindness program.

“Habitat is not only building houses, but we’re helping restore and rebuild families,” Sandidge said.

The Salvation Army Conway Corps will provide assistance as well, Price said.

“New Life Church in Conway stepped in and gave my kids the best Christmas they had since they were babies, everything you would need for your Christmas: nice toys and shoes,” Price said. “I was just overwhelmed. It all happened so fast.”

Price said her children ask her every day when they can get into the mobile home and start helping.

“We all sleep in the same place, so they’re ready. They all need their own space,” she said. The teenagers will have their own bedrooms, and the 4-year-old will sleep in her room, she said.

“I admire this lady who was doing the best she possibly could with what she had to give her children something,” Richards said.

“It’s taking a village to help this woman have a home.”

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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