Community rallies together to change life of elderly woman with leaky roof and no running water

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ARCOLA, Mo. (KODE) – An elderly disabled woman is living by herself in Dade County with a leaky roof and no running water.

“I was really touched and I thought, ‘God takes care of you. Better than you even ask for’ because it was just asking for help with the roof, and I feel you make new friends when you find people that are loving and caring,” explained Arcola resident Clara Collins.

Collins has been living in her home for more than thirty years. She and her ex-husband built the house together.

“We literally cleared the land and had rocks, trees, and stuff, so it’s been fun and it’s been peaceful and I would rather be here than anywhere else,” Collins added.

Collins’ house was built with no running water. For several years, she has been hauling clean water jugs and bottles from town and collecting rain water.

“I use it to wash dishes with and bathe with, and then I buy bottled water and they sometimes have it on sale like five for $10,” Collins continued. ‘The 24 cases, I drink that and make my coffee with that, and to flush the toilet stool, I use the water in the barrels.”

It wasn’t until her roof caved in from all of the rain over the summer that she reached out for help. Collins contacted Ann Kelley of Missouri State Representative District 127. It was going to rain that day.

“One of my friends told me to call my state representative and I figured, she is in Jeff City I’ll never hear from her,” Collins added. “But she responded within twenty minutes and said she would like to come out and take a look at it, and it really touched my heart and I just couldn’t believe it. I just appreciate it so much.”

Kelly drove to Collins’ house to temporarily stop rain water from coming in. She climbed on to the roof and placed a tarp where the hole was.

“Bless her heart, she has a little of a disability and she brought me rocks so I can put rocks on top of the tarp so that it wouldn’t fly away and it’s still on there today — her tarp that I put on several months ago,” Kelley explained. “So whenever I left, I started thinking how I’m going to help Clara.”

Kelly went on her Facebook page and asked for more help through social media. Philip Morgan, a carpenter from Joplin, heard the news and came with his wife to see Clara.

‘My wife fell in love with her the moment she met her and so did I, and we decided then that we are going to do everything we can,” said Morgan. “Not just the little things like fix the roof, but I want her to take a hot shower by not having to put pots and pans on the floor and go into town and collect rain water and get jugs of water. Nobody should have to live like that.”

Last Saturday, Morgan and a friend began stripping down the roof and put up new wooden frames and insulation.

“His passion grew from just the roof, to making sure she had running water,” Kelley added. “I just couldn’t believe it. It was just one of those things that its so awesome that you won’t believe it until it actually happens.”

“I want her to be sitting here and just look and be amazed of what God can do and there are people out there with good hearts,” said Morgan.

Some materials have been donated for the roof and the pipe for a well, but more still needs to be done for Collins to have a sealed roof and running water by the beginning winter.

If you would like to help or donate, you can contact State Representative Ann Kelly at (417)262-0736. You may also send donations to Clara Collins’ account at Lockwood True Value Hardware in Lockwood.

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