Family given a new start

April 29, 2008 5:20:58 PM PDT
In Barnegat, New Jersey tonight it's a new way of thinking about the old saying, "charity begins at home". For one family, that is turning out to be true, literally. 13-year-old David Mulvihill watched a crew demolish his home of 11 years this morning. He is autistic, and the house he shared with his mom and 22-year-old brother on Village Drive was destroyed by fire in March 2007.

"I had just went and picked him up from school and I came home and the house was on fire," said David's mother Ellen.

The family lost everything - clothes, furniture, the keyboard and guitar that helped David focus, the fenced in yard that kept him safe from his autistic misunderstanding of boundaries. The family couldn't recover.

The family moved to a small apartment Ellen Mulvihill can barely afford as a single mom on her disability income. She considered welfare until Wheels for Charity offered to coordinate a volunteer effort to build and donate a home to her family. Individuals and contractors are donating money, time and talent.

"Put together a modular home for her. So instead of building from scratch, what we're going to do is take everything down here, put a new foundation up and drop a new home on top," explains Ed Stewart from Wheels for Charity.

The new digs may be the perfect prescription to help David settle back into a healthy routine. It's a reprieve from feeling like they couldn't get through tomorrow.

Once the foundation is demolished and a new one laid, the modular home will be brought over. And if all goes well, the Mulvihills will be able to move into their new donated home sometime this summer.