Arriving early and ready to work on their day off, a group of employees from Home Depot in Canoga Park repaired a Reseda house damaged in the Jan. 17 earthquake.
In their first joint effort, Home Depot and Habitat for Humanity, an international organization that builds low-income housing, will repair four residences in the San Fernando Valley.
The first--a three-bedroom house on Zelzah Avenue that was yellow-tagged after the Northridge quake--was repaired Thursday.
Owner Kay Davenport, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and is in a wheelchair, said she was thrilled with the repairs. "I think it is marvelous," Davenport, 56, said. "It is very difficult for me to ask for help, but when I did, all these volunteers didn't make me feel ashamed. If you ask me, that is real charity."
Employees of the giant home-improvement store are donating the labor to repair earthquake damage for people in need, while the store is donating building materials and the organization is coordinating construction.
"We are repairing homes that are unlivable and need to be remodeled," said Janice Hayward, spokeswoman for Home Depot. "And it is up to the individual employee to donate the time they want, but they really enjoy working on the homes."
Davenport, who gets by on $700 a month in Social Security and disability payments, said she would not have been able to pay for the repairs, estimated at $72,000.
"Sometimes I have no money left at the end of the month for groceries and prescriptions," Davenport said.
The house was built during World War II by a building contractor for his family. Only quality materials were used, Davenport said, including hand-painted light fixtures and woodworking along the ceiling and the kitchen cabinets.
Home Depot employees replaced broken windows, tore away 50-year-old pine paneling and sealed a gap in the wall where the fireplace used to be. They also plan to build a wheelchair ramp for the front door.
"It is the guys' day off and they are here," volunteer Tommy Ahern said. "That says it all."
A wooden fence was recently erected where a cinder-block wall stood alongside the house Davenport has lived in for more than 15 years.
Showing off her new wooden fence, Davenport said: "My fancy new fence is just beautiful. To me, it is like a work of art. I like to come out and just stare at it."