(WKBN) – We first told viewers of Sofia Angiuli’s story in February, how she has lost the ability to stand, hold her head up and speak and is in need of an addition to her home to live safely. The response was overwhelming. It’s a testament to the way people in the Valley show up when someone needs help.
We have good news: a Valley organization is taking on the job and doing the work for the family.
Just days after WKBN aired Angiuli’s story about her journey with leukodystrophy, we got a call from Habitat for Humanity.
“I was putting my son to bed, scrolling through Facebook and saw the news story… I have a soft spot for kids. I have three kids of my own and as soon as I saw it, I don’t know. I can’t really tell you what did it. I just said we gotta do this,” said Scott Vlaiku, board president of Habitat for Humanity of Mahoning Valley.
We help put Habitat in touch with Stephanie and Rodney Kale, Angiuli’s parents. From there, the ball was rolling.
“He said he had seen the WKBN story and immediately called the director and said we have to help this family,” Stephanie said.
Habitat is taking on the role of general contractor and will assemble all of the volunteers to do the work.
“I’m hoping to get what we call a ‘blitz build’ where we get up to 100 people out there at one time and just build,” Vlaiku said.
Once the project starts, it should take about four to eight weeks.
“If we would have taken this on by ourselves, we might not have even gotten it started until a year from now,” Stephanie said.
While the donations have poured in, now, Habitat needs the hands to do the work. How many volunteers are they looking for?
“To build? All of them… but we’ll find them,” Vlaiku said.
You don’t have to be a professional builder to help, you just have to be at least 16 and willing to work. Just a few weekends of building the addition will build a better life for Angiuli.
“I hope it brings exactly what they’re looking for, a more accessible place for Sofia. Easier on the parents and better quality of life for all of them,” Vlaiku said.
As for the Kale family, they have a few words for our viewers.
“Thank you, everybody, thank you,” Stephanie said.
Stephanie also gave us an update on how much the Go Shout Love sales raised. The total was $14,161.
There are a few more fundraisers in the next few months for Angiuli to help with supply costs. More details are to come.
For more information about volunteering, visit Habitat for Humanity of Mahoning Valley’s website.