"First of all, do not give anybody any money until they finish the job."
This is a lesson that Grace McGlothin now knows all too well. It happened five years ago when she says she was swindled out of almost $20,000 which she gave a contractor to restore her house which had been gutted by fire.
During the blaze, her now 20-year-old son Joshua was severely injured and is now left with severe brain, heart and lung damage. For almost 10 months Joshua was in Louisiana for treatment for injuries which resulted from the fire. It was during that time that she says she paid the contractor $18,000 in insurance money for the repairs.
"When I got back it was just a shell and he was gone with the money."
Not only that, but McGlothin says because there were no windows and doors in the house, when she got back she found someone, believed to be homeless, semi-living in it.
With needed repairs not done, McGlothin says she and her bed-ridden son had to rent a place until she was able to fix just the smoke damaged part of the house with money from her 401k.
As for the other part of the house that was destroyed, it remained a shell. That is until recently when workers from the Americorp Rebuilds Mississippi program stepped in to volunteer labor for the repairs.
To help with some of the other work Multi-County Community Service Agency is also offering a helping hand. However, officials there say even they are now in dire need of donations.
"It's just so much that the weatherization program can do and we're just about as far as we can go with the weatherization program," says Freddie McCoy with MCCSA.
The items needed include: siding, sheet rock and sheet rock mud. Depending on how donations come in, McCoy says the project could be finished in less than a week.
Once finished the newly restored part of the house will be complete with a sunroom for Joshua, a new bedroom that will be big enough to hold all of his needed equipment and a large bathroom that will be handicap accessible.
Anyone wishing to donate to the effort can call MCCSA at (601) 483-4838. All donations are tax deductible.
Meanwhile, until the project is finished, McGlothin says she is just thankful for what she and Joshua do have. It's still a struggle, but God is good everyday and he gives us what we need."