Rebuilding Together

By on 2 July, 2012 in Kate and Stephen, Municipal business with 6 Comments

For a lot of people, the death of their family business, a local institution for 63 years, would be a cause for unmitigated grief and sorrow.

But Dee Moody isn’t taking time to wallow in self-pity. He confesses that he’ll miss many elements of running Moody’s Hardware, especially the human elements involving his customers and staff. But as the doors to his hardware store close for the last time, a new door of opportunity is opening, as Moody takes the reins of a small, but incredibly noble non-profit organization called Rebuilding Together. Moody was kind enough to share some thoughts on this exciting (and somewhat poignant) transition with Midtown Montgomery Living:

MML: What sort of decision making went into what must have been a tough decision to close down Moody’s Hardware?

Moody: Well, there was a lot to it. We had been in business for a long time, about 63 years. We’re living in a time where independent retailers struggle to compete. It’s the general state of the economy, the housing market. Contractors are struggling to get by. When people aren’t buying and selling houses, hardware gets hit a bit. And also, I felt like it was time in my life to do something different.

MML: What will you miss the most?

Moody: We had so many good salespeople over the years. We had good and loyal customers. It was a tough decision to make. I’ll miss interacting with customers and staff on a daily basis. We couldn’t have been any more fortunate than we were. My grandfather started the store back at the end of 1949. He was an engineer with Westinghouse, and my mother’s dad talked him into coming back to Montgomery and buying a general merchandise store down on Decatur Street.

MML: So what will you do now?

Moody: I was lucky that as we were contemplating closing the store that this opportunity with Rebuilding Together came along. I was familiar with them because their Executive Director, John Jenkins, traded with us at the hardware shop. I heard he was going into the ministry, so I applied, interviewed with the board and was selected. I started on May 10. I was able to shadow John for three or four weeks before he moved to Sewanee. We’ve got a great board, and a great organization. I’m very fortunate.

MML: What does Rebuilding Together do?

Moody: Rebuilding Together has been in Montgomery since 1993. We serve Montgomery, Autauga and Elmore Counties. Most people are familiar with our former name, which was Christmas in April. We changed the name in 2000 and now we’re not just one weekend in April anymore. We are now an ongoing year-round program that provides no-cost home modifications and repairs for low income home owners. Many of the people we help are seniors, low income, people with disabilities, folks who, with the state they are in, struggle with home repair.

MML: So these folks that you help are home owners?

Moody: Yes. They need to be owners. We have a review and application process. They must occupy the home, no rentals. And they of course have to meet the income standards. We use the guidelines from HUD to define low-income. Last year, we worked on 20 homes in our three country area. We have a strategic plan calling for us to scale-up to 100 by 2015.

MML: That sounds great. So many people need help with basic home repair and upkeep. If someone was impressed with that mission and wanted to help out, what could they do?

Moody: We’d love it if people would donate to help out. There are really two parts people can help with. First, they can volunteer to donate labor, whether skilled or unskilled. Second, they can sponsor a house or donate and supply materials. A lot of people ask us about getting their church and civic groups involved.

We do the full range of services from plumbing to electrical to painting. Some of the work is contractor donated, we we just need funds to help. Other work is from average folks that just want to help. Of course, we’re not putting an unskilled person on plumbing or electrical or roofing. Each project has a house captain, and they help supervise everything.

For the last 10 years, a group of high school kids from Lansing, Michigan, have come down during their spring break. Last year, 75 kids came. They were housed in local churches and they come down, bring supervisors, and it’s just so impressive.

We take someone’s home and we’re basically trying to make it warm, dry, and safe. We look for hazards, repair those, and sometimes there is weatherization, where people are losing so much money on utilities, or there’s mold and mildew. Sometimes there are broken windows or no insulation, so we try to work on things like that.

MML: Wow. That sounds pretty amazing. Rebuilding Together sounds really impressive.

Moody: I have long admired the work that they do. There’s really no other non profit out there doing this work.

MML: Are ya’ll a 501c(3)? So if someone made a donation, it’s tax deductible?

Moody: Yes, we’re a 501c(3). Rebuilding Together is a actually a national organization with about 200 local affiliates. Auburn has one over in Lee County, but that one is all volunteer. Since I’m going to be full-time staff here, our goal is to take on one or two Capacity Corp members, which is part of the Americorps program. It’s a good program for students, because it gives help with loans and tuition. So if any readers are students and interested, they should contact us.

Rebuilding Together is looking for sponsors, donors, and seeking to build its volunteer base. We’re streamlining the application and review process so we can serve more people. Anyone that wants to help out can look at our website, or just give us a call at 334-625-9062.

Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with a cat, a dog, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.

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There Are 6 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Hunter Scott says:

    Dee Moody rocks!

  2. Jay Croft says:

    I really, really miss the Moody hardware stores, especially the McGehee Rd. location. Those old guys staffing the store absolutely knew their stuff. They were amazing!

    A few years back a young friend needed to repair a bedframe. I took measurements of the frame and we went to Moody’s. The salesman put all the wires, turnbuckles, and other hardware together in a few minutes. Everything fit together perfectly.

    I hate wandering around the big-box stores where the staff is not one-tenth as knowledgeable!

    Best wishes to Dee Moody in his new work. It is a very much needed ministry.

    • Dee Moody says:

      Thank you, Jay. There’s a lot about it that I am going to miss also. But it’s nice to have great memories.

  3. Charles Barnette says:

    Congratulations Dee. It is so good to read about folk who use their talents and expertise to help others. I miss the wonderful folks at Moody’s Hardware on McGehee Road. They were always so helpful and solved my problem in just minutes. I’m sure your grandfather would be proud of what you’re doing.

    • Dee Moody says:

      It was really my father who started it. He lived by the Golden Rule. I do hope that they are all proud. There are a lot of folks in need. We’re all called to help others with whatever talents we have. Some times we just get too busy to do it.

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