Habitat for Humanity was opening a new door on Saturday by building relationships.
Habitat director of development Ben Gair said the organization has changed their model of repairing or building a house then leaving. It's now focused on "neighborhood revitalization," he said.
Habitat for Humanity York County and the Fort Mill chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority partnered Saturday for "community empowerment day" in Fort Mill's Paradise neighborhood.
Barbara Mackey, who has lived in the community for 60 years, said she had seen events like Saturday's before, but never in Paradise.
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"I have no idea what I would have done if Habitat hadn't come in," she said.
Stefanie Barnette, community outreach director for York County Habitat, said the organization has been working in Paradise for about four years. Residents had expressed needs beyond home repair, so Habitat connected with the AKA sorority.
"Habitat has really been an amazing connection in the community," said Wakita Barksdale, president of Fort Mill AKA chapter chartered in December 2017 and focused on community service.
The Saturday event promoted healthy living and education by giving residents access to free blood pressure checks, diabetes screenings, financial counseling and other resources.
Gair said people often think of Fort Mill as a wealthy community and overlook areas of the town that are struggling. According to U.S. Census data from 2016, the median income in the town is $66,748, and those living in poverty is 11.1 percent.
"You want to empower the community," said Jocelyn Young, Fort Mill Elementary School principal and AKA member. "Now more than ever people need to feel in control of their lives."
Linda Dixon, a widow living on a fixed income in Paradise for 21 years, said the organization fixed her air conditioning and converted her shower to a walk-in.
"They really have helped me out tremendously," Dixon said. "It's a blessing to be involved with them."
Young said there's a lot of need in the Fort Mill area, which is growing fast. She said it's "not the same Fort Mill" from 20 years ago.
"We want to have a positive impact on the community, and we're going to do whatever it takes," she said.