The Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry, Inc. (WARM) began in 1996 in response to hurricanes Bertha and Fran. Volunteers from across our region were organized by leaders of the Wilmington District of the United Methodist Church to repair the damaged homes of low income and elderly residents. As they entered the homes, volunteers noticed that much of the damage predated the storms - they just did not have the resources to make costly repairs. So, while responding to a natural disaster, WARM volunteers discovered a social disaster: substandard housing.
Long after the TV crews and national relief agencies packed up, WARM has continued its mission to improve the living conditions of low income homeowners, including many elderly and disabled. Since its inception, WARM has helped over 700 families in Southeastern North Carolina. WARM will keep going until every homeowner in our service area is able to live safely and independently in the home they worked so hard to pay for.
For over a decade, WARM operated as an all-volunteer organization with a hard-working volunteer Board of Directors who reviewed all of the applications, served as project managers, and handled grant management functions. But the need was too great for this arrangement to continue.
From January 2000 to January 2009, WARM received over 500 applications requesting help. The Board of Directors decided to take steps to strengthen WARM's infrastructure to serve these homeowners faster.
In early 2009, with a grant from The Duke Endowment, WARM hired administrative staff and rented an office in the Jo Ann Carter Harrelson Center in downtown Wilmington. The staff worked with the Board to increase awareness of the problem of substandard housing and to attract more community support for WARM's solution.
The response has been incredible. Volunteers from local churches, businesses, and civic clubs fill the WARM calendar week after week. Every summer, hundreds of youth and adults come to our region on their church mission trips. They build wheelchair ramps, repair floors, and other projects in the Wilmington sun and then take a day off for the beach.
Funding has doubled since 2008 and WARM is able to complete urgent repairs faster. We will never know how many falls and other accidents were prevented because our donors and sponsors cared enough to help their neighbor in need.
WARM has changed many lives due to the support of several large grants and generous private contributors. Please consider making an impact through WARM.