CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga - A Cherokee County woman who nearly lost custody of her children because of the condition of their home has them back again thanks to the help of hundreds of community volunteers.
Earlier this month, the State Division of Family and Children's Services told Kim Williams that she would lose custody of her daughter and youngest son, who has special needs, if she didn't make repairs within two weeks.
After two weeks of hard work, the Williams’ family trailer is almost unrecognizable.
There's a freshly painted room for her daughter and two sons and a new bath. The once rotting floors and exposed dirty insulation are gone. A new kitchen is almost complete.
Two weeks ago heaps of garbage littered the front yard. The interior of the trailer was so bad, DFACS sent her two youngest children to live with their grandmother. According to Williams, the DFACS employee said he would take her to court if she didn’t improve conditions in the home.
“He was like, this place ain’t fit for a dog to live in," said Williams.
The community pitched in when they saw her story. Hundreds of volunteers gave their time and money for lumber and other building materials.
“There was strangers coming into Home Depot purchasing gift cards and leaving them at the front. It’s such a miracle that all this was put together in two weeks.” Williams told Channel 2's Diana Davis.
Williams said her problems started when her husband died eight years ago. Poverty and the demands of caring for a special needs child became too much. Depressed and overwhelmed, she said she let things go.
“This definitely isn't happening again,” Williams said.
Now Williams has her kids back. They were at school, Monday when Davis visited.
The grin on the face of her son, Austin, in a new family photo says it all: this is a family reunited with a chance for a fresh start.
Williams said all three of her children are overjoyed at the improvements and thrilled to be back together.
“When they first walked in, Austin couldn't do nothing but have a big old smile on his face. Ashley just about cried. I mean, she had tears in her eyes” said Williams.
There's still more work to be done, including installing trim and molding.
Kitchen cabinets also have to be installed. Wiliams said more volunteers are expected to finish up the work this week
The undercarriage of the trailer will also be sealed off.
Williams said she is very thankful to all the volunteers and of course, to have her kids back.