Maintaining a home and property can often become a burden for the elderly and disabled, especially once repairs, maintenance and daily tasks begin to pile up.
And that’s where Keep Sevier Beautiful and Sevierville’s LIVE-IT came in for one Sevierville man this week.
LIVE-IT, a ministry founded by Paul and Terri Danis, combined efforts with the KSB to clean an elderly man’s residence and property — both of which were in drastic need of assistance.
In fact, LIVE-IT Executive Director and co-founder Terri Danis said Adult Protective Services had contacted them about this week’s project off Boyds Creek Road.
“We get referrals from all different organizations,” Danis said. “Adult Protective Servcies, DCS, home healthcare workers, case managers, the senior center and individuals. When somebody finds out about a need, they ask us if we’ll go out and evaluate the situation and see if there’s anything we can do.”
People usually welcome the helping hand.
“They’re ecstatic,” Danis, who founded LIVE-IT with her husband Paul, said. “Because most of the times when we get a call, it’s pretty severe. We’re kind of a last-resort ministry, where they’ve exhausted any other means. They’ve checked with churches, their family that lives out of state or friends and they just don’t find anybody that’s willing (provide assistance). It’s not going to get done if we don’t do it.”
Keep Sevier Beautiful began working with LIVE-IT about four months ago. This is their fourth effort in what they’ve termed “Project Restore.”
“(It is situations where) they can’t take care of it themselves,” Laura Howard, KSB’s executive director said. “Whether it’s an illegal dump site or a situation like this.”
This week’s challenge came in the form of an elderly and disabled man whose property had fallen into blight.
“On this one we’ll probably taking out 20-25 container loads (of trash) by the time we’re done,” Howard said. “It was bigger than what we thought.
“He has no family here, and then also had a caregiver that he had to turn in for elder abuse, which contributed to the problem as well. When we came, he had basically said anything that you can take away, please do. I think it’s a blessing to him as well.”
All together, around 15 volunteers are working on the project, cleaning both the inside and outside of the home and property.
It will likely take through Friday to complete.
Danis said LIVE-IT began its work three and a half years ago after noticing a portion of the population that fell through society’s cracks.
“We saw that people in the community had needs that were not being met,” Danis said. “We just felt like the Lord had called us to do that, so we started helping people in the community that had problems around their home and didn’t have any family or financial means to do it themselves.”
Still, she said the service doesn’t completely come with no strings attached.
“There’s a little caveat to it,” she said. “When we help them, we ask them what they can do to help somebody else. We’d like to get it to be kind of a movement of people wanting to help their neighbor. It’s called “Love your Neighbor.” The Bible says love God, love your neighbors. If we could just get that incentivized int he community we can make some radical changes in people’s lives. We tell them we want them to live it forward. The Bible says not to talk about it, (but) do it.”