Originally created 12/31/06

Charity exceeds its goal



Sonita Redmond hasn't made the final tally, but if her estimates are on target, Project Vision has far exceeded its 2006 goal for home repairs for the needy.

The goal had been to repair about 60 homes.

"We're going to get really close to 80," she said.

The repairs are being accomplished with a $40,000 budget - $30,000 from United Way and the rest in private contributions.

"And we're going to spend every bit of it," Mrs. Redmond said.

Project Vision, which began as a United Way community outreach programs in the mid-1990s, handles home repairs for residents who cannot pay for them.

Mrs. Redmond said that she receives phone calls daily from people who need help and that he program has a waiting list of more than 300 people.

"Our demand is really outpacing what we can do now ... we're just struggling to keep up," she said. "Actually, we can't keep up."

Mrs. Redmond was volunteering for Habitat for Humanity when she learned Project Vision needed a director. She started in March 2003.

"I feel like this job is my calling," she said. "It is very rewarding when you can help. It's very upsetting when you run into people with jobs too big to help."

That does happen, she said. There are the clients who need more repairs than Project Vision can handle.

Although the group receives funding from United Way, it relies on volunteers for labor.

Her 2007 goal is to replace 10 roofs, upping the ante from the typical Project Vision job that involves minor repairs such as fixing wheelchair ramps. The group does not make cosmetic repairs, she said.

To qualify for aid, the homeowner must live in Aiken County and be unable to pay for the repairs.

She said she has had several jobs, but none as satisfying as working with Project Vision.

"It's a job that requires an awful lot of compassion," Mrs. Redmond said. "I have been accused of being too compassionate."

Reach Sandi Martin at (803) 648-1395, ext. 111, or sandi.martin@augustachronicle.com.