Volunteer turned donor gives out of a passion for serving widows
A rotting deck. Plumbing problems. An unstable staircase. All fairly common issues when it comes to home repairs, but they can be an enormous hurdle for homeowners in need.
“I know there’s often no way [the homeowners we serve] can afford to make these repairs,” said Jeff Bourne. “Sometimes, the county is even threatening consequences if the repairs aren’t made, so these repairs might mean the difference between staying in their home or not.”
Jeff Bourne, a home repairs volunteer and donor, recognizes the need some homeowners - especially widows - have and has been helping meet that need from a young age.
Jeff’s story with Home Repairs Ministries began with Perimeter Church, which he has attended for 25 years. Jeff taught Home Repairs’ former executive director Harvey Anderson’s son in his discipleship group. From that relationship with Harvey, Jeff began working on repair jobs with Home Repairs. Jeff’s passion for serving widows, however, began years ago in Virginia.
When he was young, Jeff used to mow the lawns of older women that lived alone near his home. “It gave me a lot of experience, and even back then, it gave me insight into how their lives worked and the struggles they had,” he said.
Later when he became a teacher, Jeff worked a side job painting houses and would often paint for fellow teachers who were widowed. It was never about the pay; he simply knew they needed a job well done, at a good price, with the security of knowing the people doing the work - and he was happy to do it.
He believes God prepared his heart when he was young to help widows and others in need the way he has with Home Repairs.
In his time serving with Home Repairs, Jeff has gone from a volunteer to primarily a donor. Following multiple knee and ankle surgeries, he wasn’t physically able to contribute to projects the way he had in the past. However Jeff stated, “Just because I can’t physically contribute to the work, there’s no reason I can’t contribute monetarily.”
Giving of his time and resources matters to Jeff because he sees it as a direct command from the Lord.
“It’s certainly part of our Christian calling to help widows and orphans- it’s clearly mandated throughout scripture (James 1:27),” Jeff said. “Home Repairs is a group that meets that need.”
And it’s a need that matters more than ever.
“The need [for home repairs] is great and not getting smaller. In fact, it’s likely growing. For every job we know about, there are probably two or three we don’t even know about,” he said.“But I know that the things the ministry does usually have immediate results. We are able to fix problems that have often been years in the making and usually fix them in a weekend.”
The last repair job Jeff worked on this summer involved volunteers from different churches, and Jeff has been encouraged to see Home Repairs grow over the years. “It’s becoming an area-wide commitment from a lot of people. Obviously, something that large needs funding to be able to help as many people as possible,” he said.
“The vision is to make sure we take care of every person God brings to our attention.”
Because Jeff has seen the life change firsthand, he continues to give toward Home Repairs’ mission of repairing homes and hearts. “When you see the response from the people you’re helping, it feels so good. The blessing goes both ways,” Jeff said. “We don’t do it for that reason, but it’s wonderful to know that you've helped and made a big difference in someone’s life.”