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Volunteers assist in home repairs in Nesbit this week in partnership with Restoration Now, a local nonprofit that helps connect churches in the area with individuals in need.

Volunteers are hard at work at one house in Nesbit this week in association with a local organization that spans the entire county.

Restoration Now, which was started in 2011, is a nonprofit organization that partners with and equips DeSoto County and Shelby County churches to meet the practical needs of individuals within the community.

"We try to form partnerships with churches and get them in a position where they're able to serve their community better," said Lacey Fitts, a member of Restoration Now's board of directors. "We feel pretty strongly that every church should have a plan of what they're going to do when somebody walks through the door that has needs or just be aware of needs if they don't ask for help."

This week's project involves helping an elderly couple with home repairs, and volunteers from Colonial Hills Baptist Church and Christ Presbyterian Church are leading the way.

"We're using this week to try to bring together volunteers from several different churches to show up and love on the couple that lives here and just help make sure that their house will continue to meet their needs for as long as they're here," said Fitts. "We'll be here all week doing what we can and coming alongside this nice couple."

Restoration Now takes on a wide range of projects within DeSoto and Shelby County and will undertake just about any project where there is a need, whether it be building a wheelchair ramp or providing emergency relief to a single mother unable to pay her electric bill. The organization can also provide financial counseling with a certified financial planner and partners with volunteers who have expertise in certain areas. It also helps connect individuals to available community resources.

"If there's an organization that only helps out with past due electric bills, we can connect people to that organization," said Fitts. "Restoration Now is kind of the glue that pulls all the different churches together to support people. It's just such a mix of needs because you don't know [what all the needs are]."

While money is sometimes a help to those with needs, Restoration Now's mission is to take practical action to address the root problem.

"If your car is about to get repoed or your lights are getting turned off, money can fix that but that's not the root cause," said Fitts. "That's not why you can't. That doesn't address why you can't pay the electric bill or your car payment. So the bigger part of what Restoration Now does is to try to come alongside of people, get to know them, build relationships [and] bring them into community."

Restoration Now partners with churches of all denominations. They first sit down with those who have needs and determine those needs. They then determine and contact the church in their area that would be the best fit for the individual.

Fitts explained that many churches do not have a real plan set in place for what to do when someone walks through their doors with a practical need and that the overall goal is to help churches become aware of needs, come with an intentional plan to address those needs and know how to serve those around them with compassion.

"Compassionate work looks like a lot of things," said Fitts. "It can be showing up and putting siding on a house, but it could also be literally just having coffee with somebody that's sad and lonely in your community and just needs a friend. It can look like a whole lot of things. [Serving people] doesn't have to look like one thing."

Labor, donations and sponsors are always needed. For more information or for those interested in donating or becoming involved, visit www.restoration-now.org.

Brent Walker is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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