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Local organization helps community build houses for veterans

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- It’s taken about three years, but a row of brick houses on Cameron Avenue in Winston-Salem are just about ready to become "Homes for Heroes"-- specifically veterans.

“It makes me feel good to know there`s a place for veterans to rebuild their lives and have a supportive community. They have wonderful neighbors,” said one volunteer.

Volunteers ages 7 to 70 are working together to make the project-- started by Whole Man Ministries-- a success.

“It was almost a ghost street and now you can see by the liveliness that this street has come back alive because people have actually come to volunteer and contribute to this project,” said Kenneth Holly with Whole Man Ministries.

That's where another non-profit comes in that most probably haven't heard of called HandsOn Northwest North Carolina.

“Our goal is really to help broaden the volunteer base in the community, involve more people, make sure more people know that if they have a care in the world, they have a gift to bring and we can help connect them,” said Amy Lytle, Executive Director of HandsOn NW NC.

Supported by the Winston-Salem foundation, HandsOn works to increase volunteerism and strengthen other non-profits' capacities, including whole man ministries. Since 2005, The Winston-Salem Foundation has given ongoing operating support to HandsOn and its predecessor organizations.

In 2016, the Winston-Salem Foundation gave a $70,000 grant to HandsOn.

“We work with about 400 non-profits, and do lots of things to make them effective,” Lytle said. “We help mobilize volunteers and engage volunteers, but we also do a lot of training and professional development, and we engage 5500 volunteers a year in service across that network.”

Without that support, the Homes for Heroes wouldn't be nearing completion. “A lot of people didn`t know about this project, so by them actually helping us out with the project, it allowed people to come out and help us out as well,” Holly said about HandsOn NW NC.