While most of the work The Fuller Center for Housing does internationally consists of new home construction, the majority of The Fuller Center’s work in the United States is home repairs — specifically what is known as the Greater Blessing program.
Unlike new home construction in which homeowners sign a mortgage to repay the costs on terms they can afford with zero-percent interest charged and no profit made, Greater Blessing homeowner partners are not legally required to repay the costs of the work. Greater Blessing partners, however, are asked to repay the costs as they are able. Most receive boxes full of enough envelopes for them to repay the costs of the Greater Blessing repairs — projects that generally cost less than $5,000. Just like new home repayments, Greater Blessing repayments go into a local Fund for Humanity to help others in their community get the very same hand-up — making them givers themselves in the process, not charity cases. Most of these Greater Blessing partners are senior citizens and/or disabled, and the repairs help keep them safely living in the homes they love.
When they joined The Fuller Center’s ranks in late 2019, The Fuller Center for Housing of Utah County intended to focus on Greater Blessing projects as soon as the upcoming winter ended. Then COVID struck, limiting their work in 2020 to smaller “encouragement projects” to help families and to help spread the word that The Fuller Center was gearing up for bigger projects as soon as possible. In 2020, The Fuller Center of Utah County completed 16 such projects — about half of beneficiaries being referred by one generous woman named Jeanne.
That Jeanne would be the one to refer so many neighbors was no surprise, said Ann Coleman, who led the forming of the Fuller Center of Utah County and who now serves as secretary for its board of directors. Jeanne, who is 85 years old and recently widowed, lives on a low income, but Coleman says she is rich in spirit. Jeanne leads Bible studies with women in her neighborhood, hands out prayer cards to those waiting in lines for COVID testing and even welcomes homeless people into her home until they can get back on their feet.
Thus, it was fitting that The Fuller Center of Utah County’s very first Greater Blessing project Wednesday was for Jeanne, who knows full well how much more blessed it is to give than to receive. With support and volunteers from doTERRA — an essential oils company headquartered in Utah County — they were able to repair and replace Jeanne’s dilapidated front porch and unsafe steps.
“Jeanne is a real inspiration,” Coleman said. “She has the biggest heart and spirit of anyone I know.”
Coleman expressed special thanks to doTERRA for tackling the project.
“Many of today’s volunteers were from doTERRA,” she said. “They sponsored the day and provided many of our volunteers. It was a great team, and although most of started out as strangers, we became a solid team — part of the Fuller family.”