By: 4Tucson's Poverty Reduction Taskforce Director, Lynda Robinson
Meet Olga Donovan, an 89-year-old member of the Amphi Neighborhood community. She has been part of the New Life Community Church of the Nazarene for over 35 years. She was attending a food box giveaway at the church when we became acquainted with her. While filling out a survey regarding housing needs, she said, "I'll tell you what I need. I need a new roof!"
I engaged in conversation with her. She stated that she had been working since she was 12 years old, has worked most of her adult life, and has never received government assistance. She bought her current house in 1969 with her husband and raised her two sons. While raising her children, she worked as a sales associate at McClelland's department store for 23 years. Her husband was a produce trucker for most of his career. Her husband passed away just over 25 years ago. She has been saving money to get a new roof, but her car engine "blew up" and she had to use the money for car repairs. She called multiple agencies to see if she could get some help with her roof, to no avail. I took her name and number and told her I would pass on any information I came across to her.
|I can't get Olga off my mind. I feel strongly that God is prompting me work on gathering people together to help take care of Olga and her need for a roof.|
I visited with Olga yesterday afternoon and learned more about her. She started working when she was 12 years old in the agricultural community northeast of Tucson. Her father died when Olga was only 4, so her family moved to Oracle to live with her grandfather. They moved around the valley as he took different agricultural harvesting jobs. She went to live with extended family in order to go to school. During her high school years, she lived in Oracle and traveled by bus to Florence daily for school. She told me stories of living in the Amphi neighborhood, from when she used to know all of her neighbors and who lived in each of the homes, to current days when she doesn't know many of her neighbors and there are less houses and more apartments. She said that she has seen 5 different pastors come to her church and there are no other people who have attended New Life Community as long as she has.
I asked her if I could take some pictures of her roof. She believes that this current roof was installed about 30 years ago. Recently, her nephew came to visit and tried to patch some spots with tar on the back side of her roof. She has some leaking spots in the back bedroom and the bathroom.
Olga is very excited about our efforts and describes how this is such an answer to many prayers. One of the pastors at her church will be with her during all visits from estimators and roofing professionals. Her schedule is pretty open except for the first Wednesday of each month, which is her shopping time. I will help her with scheduling and coordination with visits and appointments.
Thank you for all that you can do to assist in this effort to help Olga live in a safe and healthy home.