LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - North Lufkin's Neighborhood Strong, a restoration foundation, received a financial boost Tuesday of $32,000.
More significant is what the donation represents.
East Texas News has the details on how a "buy in" by multi-million dollar financial institutions helps individuals make things like they used to be.
"The house needed painting and so they painted all this. They restored the roof and everything," Sydney Benemon said as she walked around her freshly painted home, located in an area of Lufkin known as North Lufkin.
Benemon, 64, said recent improvements to her home are blessings.
Not far away, neighbor Ruth Price said similar renovations to her home provide her a sense of security.
"I just love it. In fact I love this porch out here," Price said from her wide front porch where she sits to, "watch the cars go by."
Both women thank Neighborhood Strong and the foundations, charities, and corporations that support it.
"The houses look better and you feel more comfortable around here," Price said.
Benemon recalled seeing her home renovations for time. She had just gotten out of the hospital.
"I was like, 'Awww!' I can't believe it because this house was in bad shape," Benemon said. "This house was built in 1932."
It was a simpler time when North Lufkin was thriving with numerous black businesses. Over time poverty took over.
Now Neighborhood Strong, an owner-occupied restoration program, is "striving to rebuild our neighborhood great" its executive director Dr. Wayne Lawrence said.
"We started as an idea in the spring of '16 and now we are finishing our ninth house presently," Lawrence said.
Bankers representing the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas and its member institutions Austin Bank and Citizens National Bank collectively donated $32,000 to Neighborhood Strong. The money will be used for computers and office space. In addition, a project manager will be hired to supervise contractors and keep homeowners informed. An administrative assistant will also be hired. The investors know their contributions reach much further than front porches.
"The importance of revitalization is to keep the city alive essentially," said Mark Loya, who works for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas.
The Neighborhood Strong board, made up of primarily residents of North Lufkin, have achieved economic development, a park reopening, and a health clinic for their community. Temple Foundation is a prominent supporter.
The achievements represent more blessings in the eyes of Benemon and Price who remain proud to say they still live in North Lufkin.