Dora Pruitt and her family had lived in the house for 27 years. But in September, the record flooding caused irreparable damage to the Pruitt house, located on the corner of 1st Street and Walker.
Several UMHB students aided Pruitt in clearing her yard of the clutter so that the house could be bulldozed.
Pruitt’s youngest grandson and middle grandson and his wife lived together along with her and her husband.
After the flood, Pruitt and her husband moved to Nolanville while waiting to be cleared to reoccupy their home, living rent-free in an apartment while looking after storage facilities owned by a distant acquaintance.
Last week, a city inspector condemned their house. “(It’s) very heart breaking for us to give it up,” Pruitt said.
The family had been surviving on a total income of only $1,002 a month, with almost all of that amount coming from Dora Pruitt’s disability Social Security checks.
“We don’t have no finances to fix nothing up,” Pruitt said. “(The house) is falling apart. The house does need to come down. … But it’s all we had.”
City ordinance required them to clear the clutter from their yard so the house could be bulldozed. This requirement was literally impossible for Pruitt, who is disabled.
Pruitt called the First Assembly of God in Belton, which was also damaged by the same flood, and the church put her in touch with UMHB’s Baptist Student Ministries Director Shawn Shannon. Shannon had previously sent students to help the church’s flood clean-up.
“She seemed like a woman much in need of help,” Shannon said of Pruitt.
Pruitt called Shannon on Tuesday morning Nov. 2.
By that afternoon, a sign was posted in the Baptist Student Ministries building asking for help, and Shannon herself asked students to help Pruitt in cleaning her yard.
On Thursday, Nov. 4, a group of students from UMHB led by Shannon worked for three hours cleaning up Pruitt’s yard.
Ashlee “Joely” Ramirez, a freshman biology major, was among the group volunteering that day.
“I felt that there was a need,” she said. “And definitely wherever there’s a need, I try and help out.”
Ramirez had recently participated in the Poverty Simulation held during Missions Emphasis Week.
“It opens your eyes. I can’t even explain it,” Ramirez said, concerning the simulation.
Just a week after the simulation, Ramirez was helping Pruitt clear her yard.
“It was overwhelming. … You always think of poverty being elsewhere in other countries,” Ramirez said, “but if you look around, close, in your hometown, you will find that there’s all different levels of poverty.”
Pruitt’s house was scheduled to be demolished sometime earlier last week.