ST. PAULS — Julia Odom hasn’t allowed a severe brain trauma to stop her from doing what she says is the Lord’s work.
Odom, always an ordained minister but sometimes a party clown, is leading a team to Haiti in December to teach more than 150 orphans how to sew. The effort is part of for Help4Haiti Inc.
On Saturday, Odom will hold a yard sale from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to raise money for sewing supplies and to build a new orphanage in Haiti. The yard sale will be held in the garden behind Odom’s house at 01 S. Odom Road in St. Pauls.
Through community efforts like Odom’s, Help4Haiti Inc. hopes to raise at least $100,000 to begin construction on the orphanage to help victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. So far, the group has raised about $15,000.
Odom will be selling clothes, household items and some furniture that have come from family, friends and people in the community.
For young visitors, Odom will be dressed as “Kricket” the clown. Kricket will be doing tricks and making balloons for donations.
Odom is also planning a gospel benefit singing at 6 p.m. on Nov. 9 at First Baptist Church in St. Pauls.
Nancy Chalmers, who founded Help4Haiti with her husband Louis, said she asked Odom to join the effort.
“I asked her because she’s a great teacher, her love for people all over the world, her willingness to travel and deal with different circumstances,” Nancy said. “She makes the perfect person to me, but the most important thing is that she cares about the children.”
Odom had worked as a missionary before, but was sidelined 11 years by an allergic reaction to some prescription medication that left her unable to speak for two years and the right side of her body paralyzed.
“They (doctors) said I would never be able to have a job again,” Odom said.
Odom said she prayed for another chance to help.
“Not being able to be in a ministry position has been very difficult,” Odom said. “So to be asked to go and teach sewing in Haiti was a blessing.”
Nancy Chalmers said teaching the Haitian children how to sew may provide them with a trade.
“We are teaching them to provide for themselves.” said Nancy Chalmers, who is a designer. “If they get good at it, I would love to market their clothes. But you’ve got to start by educating them.”
The nonprofit will also teach the children how to fish.
“This will show them a healthier way of living,” Nancy Chalmers said.
To donate, visit www.help4haiti.org.