Mr. Gilbert's Helping Hands

Help renovate a Habitat for Humanity house for 91-Year-old WWII Merchant Marine with no family. Let's get Mr. Gilbert HOME for the Holidays.

A fundraising campaign for Habitat For Humanity Bay-Waveland Area
For more information, view the campaign video or visit "Mr. Gilbert's Helping Hands" on Facebook.

Meet Mr. Gilbert...

Mr. Gilbert is 91 years old with no children or family and lives near Picayune, MS. He has served in the Merchant Marines for 40 years starting in World War II. His current living conditions (rental) are not fitting of a United States of America Veteran. His water comes from a garden hose through his hot water heater and the mobile home is in terrible condition. No one should live in these conditions, especially a 91-year-old.  Habitat for Humanity Bay-Waveland serves Hancock and Pearl River Counties and is helping Mr. Gilbert renovate a home in Picayune, MS. We need your help to move him to a better and safer place.

Working toward a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

How did we meet?

Matt Ladner was driving into work one morning and out the corner of his eye in a parking lot... an elderly gentleman had his hood up and was moving very slowly from his trunk to the front of the car. Matt really didn't want to stop and couldn't afford to, but everything inside made him turn around and check on this gentlemen. You know that feeling, when you are compelled to do something and you just don't know why. You just do it.

Mr. Gilbert couldn't get his car started because it was stuck in reverse. He had to have it towed to a nearby automotive repair shop. He gave them his information, but he didn't have a phone. Matt gave the shop his number and had them call him once they figured out the issue.

Matt offered to drive Mr. Gilbert to his house.  When they arrived, it looked as if his yard hadn't been mowed in weeks. Mr. Gilbert attempted to pay Matt, but Matt had already been paid (if you know what I mean).
He never asked for the help... but Matt was so moved by Mr. Gilbert's humility that he reached out to a few friends on social media to see if they could help pay to fix his car. Several generous people immediately donated and they took care of his car repairs. Then, a few of them cut his grass that evening.

The next morning, Matt made a Facebook post seeking help to fix a few things around Mr. Gilbert's house. An overwhelming response of love came flooding in as it reached thousands of people with hundreds of people reaching out to help. That’s when a few of them realized that this was a great opportunity to move Mr. Gilbert into something more stable and safer.

Habitat for Humanity Bay-Waveland has partnered with Mr. Gilbert to help renovate a nearby home. However, before we move him into the home, it needs updates and renovations to accommodate him and his needs. This fundraising effort is to cover costs to renovate his future home. Additional funds above and beyond the housing renovations will go directly towards his monthly expenses and help furnish his home. 

We build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.

How did he get to this point?

Upon retirement from the Merchant Marines in the ‘80s, there was a lot of uncertainty as to their future. Because the Merchant Marines were a civilian group, he was offered a choice of a monthly income or a lump sum buyout. He chose the lump sump buyout. The problem with that choice is that he has outlived his retirement and is now living on Social Security. He has most of the bare necessities but has humbly chosen to sacrifice in the area of housing. That’s where we as a community can come together to help.

Maybe you don’t have the means to help many people, but just think of the impact of many people coming together to help just one. 

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About the Organization

Habitat For Humanity Bay-Waveland Area

Since 2005 we have built about over 200 new homes. We have completed over 600 critical home repairs and 120+ weatherization projects in Hancock and Pearl River counties.
Our critical repair program has helped homeowners that can’t afford sorely needed repairs and our weatherization program continues to help homeowners resulting in more efficient energy bills and a healthier environment.
We have been blessed with the support of over 8,000 volunteers over the last 12 years. We continue to support our community with various programs such as weatherization, critical home repairs and our veterans repair program. Habitat-Bay Waveland offers a hand up, not a hand out.