A woman of strong faith, for Bonnie Housend, Easter is a time for celebration. For a friend, however, she knew circumstances had made it anything but.
Housend, of Des Allemands, delivers mail in the area as well. She often came across a man named John Liggins who did not have much to his name and made his home in a tiny shed along Old Spanish Trail.
“He always would tell me hello and we’d talk sometimes. My mom has been sick, and he always asks me about her, about how she is,” Housend said. “He’d ask if there’s anything he could do, and he offered prayers. He has a good heart.”
One day, while traveling along her route, she saw his home was no more – it burned down, as it turned out, on Easter Sunday.
“He’d left a pot on, he said, and it burnt the place down,” Housend said. “He lost everything. I just really wanted to help him.”
Toward that end, Housend has been doing that through a GoFundMe page (titled Help build John a home) that has raised nearly $2,000 through a little more than a week of activity.
Housend said the goal is to purchase a small camper for the man, who has been relegated to sleeping in a vehicle for shelter.
“I came home and asked my daughter, ‘There’s got to be something we can do,’ and she suggested a GoFundMe,” Housend said. “I didn’t know much about it, and not all that much about him, aside from where he was living. She kind of got me set up and we went ahead … his story just moved me. I’m trying to show the love of Jesus in helping him. Everyone deserves to have somewhere to rest and be safe.”
Housend said Liggins, a Vietnam veteran, is known for doing odd jobs for people in the area, some of which he isn’t paid for and does out of the goodness of his heart. One donor to the GoFundMe alluded to this noting “I donated because anytime I need help he is always there. No job too big or too small.”
She said it hurt her heart to see what he’s had to endure.
“He’s sleeping in a car right now. Nobody’s taking him in and I don’t know if he has family to. Everyone deserves somewhere to call home. I have a lot I’ve been blessed with .. a job, a home, clothes … he doesn’t have anything. He’s never had all of that. I want to help him with something, at least,” she said. “We all need somewhere to lay down, to be out of the weather … not spending your nights sleeping in a car.”
Housend began by bringing him a bag of clothes to replace the ones he had lost. At that point she told him of her plans to help through the fundraiser.
“He looked at me and said ‘I am somebody. And somebody cares about me,’” Housend said.
Nearly 40 people have made donations to the page toward Liggins’ cause.
“We have people with good hearts in our community. I believe that,” Housend said.
Her target is $5,000 for the camper. If one comes priced less than that – assuming the goal is reached – she hopes to use the surplus to help him with whatever supplies can otherwise help him get back on his feet.