Under the new Habitat Hearts program of Greene County Habitat for Humanity, four-year-old Malachi Taylor and his family have received an addition to their home -- a handicapped-accessible bedroom, bathroom and ramp.
"This project was the first of its kind for Greene County Habitat for Humanity and was unofficially dubbed 'Project Malachi,'" said Vicki Culbertson, executive director of the local Habitat chapter.
Established in 1993, Greene County Habitat strives to help provide decent, affordable housing to low-income families, according to a recent news release.
As the local Habitat chapter works to increase its capacity to build more houses for the community, the organization consistently addresses ways to better serve the community and help special-needs families, according to the release.
This year the Habitat Hearts program was created.
The program reaches out to individuals and families who have home-accessibility problems and other minor home repair needs.
"The Habitat Hearts program selects by application process one major project per year, helping a family with special needs, along with working on smaller repair projects during the year such as ramps for accessibility, railing, and exterior minor home repair including painting/cleanup," Culbertson said.
"We are so pleased with the success of this project and the new program. Our steering committee members were extremely committed to the project from beginning to the end.
"We are very thankful to have so many caring individuals give of their time and talents to help complete this project. Greene County Habitat is very proud to be one of the few Habitats in East Tennessee to offer this type of program.
"So far we are receiving applications from senior citizens, adults and children with disabilities, and veterans," Culbertson concluded.
Malachi, along with his parents, Jason and Danielle Taylor, and his six siblings, lives in a Habitat for Humanity-built home, which was completed in 2010 just west of Greeneville.
Born with a rare condition called arthrogyposis, which affects the use of Malachi's arms and legs, the boy has undergone several orthopedic surgeries at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Lexington, Ky.
His team of doctors are working to better align his feet and lower legs, according to the release.
It was the Taylor family's special dedication to Habitat for Humanity and inspiration from Malachi that prompted the new Habitat Hearts program, Culbertson said.
"Key volunteers have been members, employees and management of Walmart Distribution Center, Brooks Malone, Andrew Johnson Bank, Jarden Zinc Products, Charter Media, local churches and civic groups, and other individuals who have selflessly donated time, supplies and money," she added.
Applications for the 2014 Habitat Hearts program are now available at the Habitat for Humanity Office at 2460 W. Andrew Johnson Hwy.
To inquire about Habitat Hearts or other potential Habitat program opportunities, interested persons are asked to call Culbertson at 638-1338.
Gifts in kind and/or monetary donations may be sent to: Greene County Habitat for Humanity, Habitat Hearts Program, P.O. Box 1824, Greeneville, TN 37744.