Churches are sought to help build sections of modular homes for families in need in rural Appalachia through the Red Bird Ministry. Specifications will be provided to church volunteers and then completed panels will be picked up and delivered to work sites at Red Bird for streamlined assembly.
The Red Bird Build, part of a larger ministry called Red Bird Mission, creates new construction modular homes for deserving low-income families in southeastern Kentucky.
Red Bird Mission has been serving the isolated, rural area of the Appalachian Mountains since 1921. The mission hopes to help residents overcome obstacles of chronic poverty, lack of jobs and poor housing plaguing the rugged mountainous region, preventing a fuller life for the people of this area.
Wanting to help eliminate some of these obstacles, Paul Givens of St. Mark’s UMC in Murfreesboro, TN, introduced the idea of the Red Bird Build after serving for ten years as part of a Red Bird Mission team helping with home repairs. Givens felt the repairs were only offering a short-term fix for extensive problems with the rural homes. He realized it was cheaper to build new modular homes as opposed to repairing existing older ones, and the idea of the Red Bird Build was born.
“We decided to build as opposed to repairing because you wind up with a house that still needs repairs,” said Givens. “That’s the catalyst behind all this.”
To involve more volunteers in the construction of the homes, volunteers from several local churches construct the walls and floor panels at local sites, and the components are then transported to Kentucky for further assembly. Families receiving homes through the Red Bird Build must meet several qualifications to become a recipient, including owning the property and accepting a ten-year lien prohibiting sale of the house.
In addition to St. Marks UMC, Cookeville First UMC and several Murfreesboro District churches have participated, including First UMC, Smyrna First UMC, Bethel UMC, Trinity UMC and Blanton’s Chapel UMC. Nashville area businesses have also joined the efforts to support this ministry through financial and in-kind donations, including new appliances for the homes.
In 2016, the first Red Bird Build home was built and dedicated in August to a couple working and saving to attend college. The program already has plans underway to build many more homes in the future.
To serve on a Red Bird Build on-site team, implement a build at your local church or contribute financially, please contact Mark Givens at firstname.lastname@example.org.