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Nonprofit lifts financial burden off Durham woman's shoulders

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DURHAM, N.C. -

Three Durham families are getting some much-needed home repairs taken care of free of charge.  Rebuilding Together of the Triangle is fixing up three homes this weekend, including Margaret Wilder's home.

Wilder says caring for her mentally handicapped son has strained her financially.

"And since the government has cut so much funding, I'm furnishing all his clothes and spending money," Wilder said.

So when it came to some badly-needed home repairs, she couldn't afford it.  A mold problem from a faulty drainage system has irritated a number of her respiratory diseases, including bronchitis, asthma and emphysema. 

That's where volunteers from 17 Rebuilding Together chapters nationwide stepped in to help.  Their work is made possible thanks to $30,000 in funding from Durham County and the Shell Oil company.

"Many times the contaminate levels inside a normal home, of things like mold that are just in the air generally, can be five or ten times higher," Rebuilding Together of the Triangle Executive Director Daniel Sargent said.

This is the group's second trip here.  Wilder's mold-infested bedroom has already been taken care of along with the installation of a wheelchair accessible ramp.

This weekend, volunteers are working on making the bathroom wheelchair accessible, and adding an improved kitchen ventilation system.  New gutters and a new drainage system complete the work outside.

"So what we're able to do is fill a gap and make sure they have a safe and healthy place to live for the rest of their lives," Sargent said.

Wilder compares these volunteers to angels from heaven.

"Honey, you never know the gratitude I feel for all of it," Wilder said.  "I cannot imagine, somebody just picking somebody you don't know and helping them out like this."

Rebuilding Together of the Triangle helps families in Wake, Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties.  For information on how to help, or how to get help, click here.

Derick Waller

Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms. More>>

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