Long Beach neighbors rally to assist widow

LONG BEACH, Calif. A group of neighbors in Long Beach have taken a struggling widow under their wing.

It's been a tough 2009 for one east Long Beach resident. Disabled since childhood, Sharon lost her husband of nearly 20 years in January when he died suddenly of a heart attack.

"Our first thought was Sharon. We need to take care of Sharon, so we came down and did what we had to do help her out," said neighbor Sabine Bryttegard.

"Her house was not made for her to live here by herself," said neighbor Kym Livesay. "Her husband did a lot and she does so much on her own. But certain things were not accessible to her, so we started with little things."

And now Sharon's neighbors are taking on the big things: some much-needed renovations like remodeling the kitchen with new cabinets, lowering countertops, installing a new door and window, painting and planting a new garden -- All in one weekend.

"I'm amazed by their generosity, I'm just amazed," said Sharon.

Neighbor Kim Livesay spearheaded the project. She spread word of what she wanted to do. Calls came pouring in.

"Left and right I was getting envelopes dropped in my mailbox just full of money, anywhere between 10 and 1,000 dollars," said Livesay.

They raised nearly $4,000, and secured enough volunteers to pull off the weekend makeover, making it possible for Sharon to stay in her home.

"There are people here whose jobs are on the line and contractors who, you know, aren't getting the work they need. And yet they are taking their time to do this, and there is nothing I can give them," said Sharon.

"What this says about the people too, is that even in the tough times they are still willing to help somebody who is less fortunate than they might be," said Bryttegard.



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