Volunteers make Cross Connection

Before youth and adults from Carolina Cross Connection arrived at Pattie Patrick’s house Wednesday, the Newton resident said her linoleum floor was riddled with holes.

“I kept getting big splinters in my feet when I walked around the living room,” said Patrick’s daughter Dawn, holding up her hands to illustrate a five-inch fragment of floor. “It was all torn up.”

Patrick’s house, a Habitat for Humanity home constructed in the early 90s, had floor issues stretching from the living room all the way throughout the hallways — damage that Patrick said she could not afford to fix.

“It’s really hard for me to get my money up to fix things,” Patrick said. “It’s just too expensive.”

But a Concord-based service group recently heard about Patrick’s dilemma and is putting her worries to rest — volunteering to install a new floor throughout the house for free. Six workers from Carolina Cross Connection (CCC) worked non-stop in Patrick’s house Tuesday, sawing, drilling and hammering away to insert a new floor in the homeowner’s residence.

The cross connection is a Christian ministry that brings together youth and adults from churches around North Carolina in order to provide minor home repair, painting, basic construction, such as wheel chair ramps, yard work and cleaning to whomever may need help, said Carolina Cross Connection Director Annie Hughes Carroll.

“These kids know what they are doing, and they sacrifice a week of their summer to serve,” Hughes Carroll said.

Cross connection has five camps around western North Carolina that operate four weeks throughout the summer. Each camp has about 10 groups working at different locations throughout the week. The group of six working in Patrick’s house Tuesday was from Camp Carrolwood in Patterson and had youth from Winston-Salem and Georgia.

“These guys are actually paying to be here,” said Anthony Mendez, a Carolina Cross Connection field coordinator. “They come out every year, and they do good work.”

Mendez is one of many field coordinators with cross connection and helps schedule projects and “keep an eye on the different groups.”

Cross connection also has program coordinators that find new people and “names” to work with.

Because cross connection is a non-profit organization, they rely on grants and donations from the community to fund their construction and service projects. The more donations and grant money they receive, the more work they can provide for needy citizens in the future, Mendez said.

A rewarding experience

Mendez said he started with cross connection as a camper and has enjoyed each year he’s spent with the group.

“Seeing that reaction from the people you’re working for, it makes it all worthwhile,” he said. “It’s done so much for me, and I’m trying to give back what I can.”

As the cross connection youth and adult volunteers worked hard to install the new floor Tuesday, Patrick sat close-by and smiled. Mendez told her thanks for allowing the cross connection volunteers into her home, and Patrick shook her head.

“I keep telling them thank you, and I am the one that is thankful,” Patrick said. “It means the world to me because I’m on a fixed budget, and it’s really hard to get anything fixed around here. This is a big blessing.”