MARION, Ind. – Mount Olive United Methodist Church of Muncie through it’s Faith-N-Action ministry teamed up with The River and the Downtown Tabernacle churches to provide a Christmas gift to a Marion resident.

On Oct. 4, 2011, Mary Ware’s Marion house was severely damaged by a kitchen fire. The kitchen and dining area were destroyed and the entire house sustained smoke, soot and water damage.

Ware and her son, Toby, were not injured but they were left with no place to live. She contacted the United Way, where Jane Barnes contacted Bob Riggs, of the Red Cross, and Rusty Jack of Mt. Olive United Methodist Church.

Jack is the president of Mount Olive’s Faith-N-Action (FNA) ministry, a group that has been serving the community for 16 years by providing construction help to people who do not have the resources to hire a contractor. He called his builder friends and the effort to help the Ware family was under way.

People of the Mt. Olive UMC, The River and The Downtown Tabernacle helped move Mary’s furniture into storage. FNA decided to spearhead the effort to restore the home. The kitchen and dining room were gutted down to the frame, the floor coverings were removed, and all of the walls and ceilings were scrubbed with various chemicals to remove the soot and smoke smell from the house.

The damage included all appliances, heating and air conditioning system, hot water heater and much of the electrical system.

Erin Rhodes of Service Master volunteered to help and contacted suppliers, provided special chemicals for cleaning, and directed the effort to eliminate the smoke damage.

Don and Joy Wickline of Mt. Olive’s FNA acted as project managers. More than 100 people volunteered time and many more donated money or materials to this mission.

Ware did not know any of the people who worked on this project prior to the fire but now considers the many volunteers as family. She moved back into her restored home Dec. 18, within ten weeks of the fire.

While some work remains and Mt. Olive’s FNA team will continue until the project is complete, the Ware family spent Christmas at home.