Family ready to move back home

Published 9:46 pm Monday, December 24, 2007

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
Raven Culliver and her daughters have been away from home for too long - since the 2005 hurricane season piled more damage on to the house than Hurricane Ivan did the year before.
But as Christmas approaches, new cabinets and appliances sit waiting for installation in the kitchen, carpet is ready to be laid in the living room, and a beautiful Christmas tree shines in the corner of the master bedroom.
The nearly completed renovations at the Neal Street house are a result of Alabama Rural Ministries' first major project in Brewton.
On Thursday, Culliver and her 9-year-old daughter Tamijia pointed out new fixtures and newly installed appliances.
ARM, formed to help provide safe and secure housing for children and senior citizens, began working on the Cullivers' home nine months ago.
Along with the normal setbacks of any new organization, ARM contended with the theft of new copper wiring in the house last summer. But despite the problems, a steady stream of volunteers and donations have kept the project going.
Those donations included appliances, furniture, cabinets, flooring and other essentials for Culliver's home. And dedicated volunteers have made the project possible, she said.
With one major project almost under its belt, Jennings and other ARM volunteers are already looking ahead to 2008, with at least one fundraiser already planned for February. A bridge tournament at the Country Club of Brewton will raise money for new projects. Tickets are $25 per person, and lunch will be served.
Getting ahead with raising money will help the group plan its projects better, Jennings said. “We hope to have money our board can use for projects,” she said.
In the past year, donations for the Cullivers' house have been made locally, but they have also come from individuals and businesses across the country, including Pennsylvania and Mississippi.
Culliver, whose family also helped on the project, said she was overwhelmed by the support of volunteers in the community.