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article imageA Modern Day Version of an Old-fashioned Barn-raising Party

By Sandy Sand     Feb 22, 2009 in Lifestyle
In a scene reminiscent of barn- or house-raising back in the days of pioneers settling the old West, Leroy Price and his family looked on in awe as more than 100 volunteers picked up every tool imaginable to fix up his home.
"The house was calling out for help, saying, 'Please, someone do something,' " Price told the Los Angeles Times.
And something was done.
After his plea for help, Rebuilding Together, a nonprofit organization that assists families in dire need of home repairs, came to Price’s rescue on Saturday, and began the much-needed repairs to his 107-year-old Craftsman-style home in South Los Angeles.
Rebuilding Together, going into its 21st year of operation, is one of many such organization across the country that are supported by public donations and help people like Price.
According to Christina McKay, executive director of the Los Angeles branch, they operate 200 programs nationwide and launched a new affiliate in the greater L.A. area, and have plans to renovate approximately 100 homes.
Price, 54, is a former city maintenance worker, who qualified for assistance because he earns less than $43,000 a year, and still has severe pain from a traffic accident he was involved in several years ago and has gone deaf since. He said he felt powerless as he watched his home that has served three generations of his family fall further and further into disrepair.
Two of his neighbors have qualified to have their homes get a fresh coat of paint, and are the first three home owners in L.A. to receive help from Rebuilding Together under its new program.
For Price and his common-law wife, Sunny Robinson , 53, who cares for him and sees to all his needs, said she had done everything she could do on her own, and said she knew they had to do something when living in the home became nearly impossible.
The bathtub had become so rusted, they had to stand in the tub and use water from a bucket to bathe; every room had to be lit up by flashlights, because the electrical wiring was totally shot; and the hot water heater was so ornery, it worked only sporadically...and that was just for starters.
Robinson and Price, aided by a walker, looked on with giddy delight as craftsmen from Rebuilding Together and student volunteers tackled those problems along with a myriad others in every room inside and everything on the exterior.
"I was afraid they were going to condemn it," Price said. "I had no money, no way to fix anything."
This is today's West, and although some of the problems remain the same, Price and Robinson will no longer have to dread a thing like that happening to them now that a few new friends have stopped by to help just as they did in the old West.
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