Elim Baptist Church gets a makeover thanks to volunteers

Volunteers give local church a cleanup

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A new program in Louisville is bringing people together to clean up a west-side church.

A local group called Hand in Hand is taking back the city's streets one hour at a time.

"I've worked for Hand in Hand for 10 years now," Michele Williams said.

Hand in Hand ministries has taken Williams all over the world.

"In Nicaragua, I helped build a home and in Appalachia, we've done home repairs," Williams said as she was sweeping the front porch of a boarded-up house on the west side Saturday.

After doing so much work so far away, the group decided to come back home and help out around Louisville. Williams was born and raised in Louisville and said her husband was born on the west side.

"He still has roots here and I just think there's just a lot of need here," Williams said.

Starting with Elim Baptist Church's latest project, a handful of volunteers are putting their time in by cleaning.

"That little house next to this side is going to be turned into a child care center not only for the people in the church but also for the community," Hand in Hand CEO and founder Marla Cautilli said. She has led her ministry all over the world, and said she's glad to be back home, giving back to a place that is closest to the hearts of those working.

From cleaning the back yard of the future child care center, to sweeping the front porch, Hand in Hand volunteers work hard to get at least the outside looking the best it can. As for the inside, volunteers are working on replaying the dry wall in the basement of Elim Baptist.

"We've had some issues in the basement with mold and the flooding so that was a need," youth pastor Channing Banks said. "Our pastor had been praying diligently about God meeting the need and the financial aspects of it. God came through again."

Everyone is helping out on their own time because there's no better feeling than giving back to your beloved home, Williams said.

"Definitely, definitely, you definitely get something out of it," she said. "You get back as much as you put in."

Cautilli said her organization works with the volunteers to break down barriers that communities have put up against each other.

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