Special to the
Opelika Observer

Local church pastors and business leaders are uniting together with Alabama Rural Ministry for their 11th Annual Sweet Homes for Alabama campaign beginning Oct. 10.
ARM Executive Director Lisa Pierce will live in a makeshift shack for up to six days. Other business leaders will commit to three hours or an overnight stay in another shack next to Pierce’s. The goal is to raise awareness about poverty housing in our local area and throughout Alabama, provide efforts for people to volunteer to help repair homes, and raise $100,000 to help with the cost of materials for repairing these homes.
More than 100 area families on the organization’s home-repair list are requesting help. With a housing shortage of 90,000 housing units in Alabama and a declining housing stock with our elderly, the need is always great.
The shacks will be in front of the Auburn University Wesley Foundation, located at 131 S. Gay St.
Pierce and shack dwellers will have information about poverty in Alabama, specifically Lee and Macon counties. Auburn University students will also have a display on campus to encourage students to volunteer and give.
Children are encouraged to participate too. With a $5 donation, they can paint on part of the shack, learn about home repair needs and service and take their paint brush home.
Why shacks and what happens there?
Pierce will live in a small shack that is just large enough to fit a twin mattress, which will become her home for several days. She sleeps there and stays in the shack whether rain, shine, hot or cold. People bring her meals and share in them with her.
Another shack is set up for people to stay with her for three-four hour blocks of time to help spread the word. This shack has room for two small mattresses, allowing for others to stay overnight, providing an experience comparable to the struggles that low-income families face, particularly during stormy weather.
ARM is a 501(c)3, faith-based organization that serves families through home repair and children’s ministry. Each year, they repair 20-30 homes for area families. Most of the work includes roof repair, floor repair, and building handicap-accessible features.
The families that they serve with tend to be elderly, disabled or single parents. Volunteers complete 95 percent of all the repairs, and they host approximately 1,000 volunteers per year.
For more information, visit www.arm-al.org, email Pierce at lisa@arm-al.org or call 334-501-4276. ARM’s Opelika office is located at 200 26th St.