After a 30-year career with Boeing, Bob Beggs became the executive director of Coatesville-based Good Works Inc. The Christian home-repair ministry works to transform lives by remodeling homes into safer, more welcoming places for low-income families. To date, the organization has revamped nearly 900 homes.
1. Chester County Pops Orchestra. “My wife plays the violin in multiple orchestras, so we tend to go and enjoy a lot of those.”
2. The Polar Express. “It’s a movie I watch every year.”
3. The Eagles and James Taylor. “I love the fact that the Eagles and James Taylor are coming to Philadelphia in July. They’re probably my two favorite secular groups.”
4. Starbucks. “For probably two decades, I’ve been a Starbucks junkie. I love the chai tea lattes.”
5. Baan Thai. “My wife and I like to get their takeout. Great tofu.”
MLT: What is the Good Works process?
BB: We do a total home inspection. What starts as one request often ends up being 20 or 30 items that are all focused on making the home warm, safe, dry, healthy and secure for the people that live there. I would argue that has saved some peoples’ lives. [One woman] called to get help removing carpets. When we got there, we found that the chimney was clogged and carbon monoxide was going into the house. That total home inspection makes all the difference.
MLT: What’s the most rewarding part about what you do?
BB: I love the fact that we offer the opportunity for, on average, 1,800 volunteers a year to be able to work out their faith and serve people in their community that have been marginalized by society.
MLT: What are common misconceptions about poverty locally?
BB: There are families living in poverty in what is the wealthiest county in Pennsylvania and the 24th or so wealthiest in the U.S. You can find it hard to believe that, for instance, there can be a family that takes milk cartons down to the Brandywine River for water to drink and cook. We used to serve to generational poverty—when steel moved out of Coatesville—but with the 2008 recession, it really introduced us to situational poverty. Any one of us is one divorce, accident, illness, bad decision, or addiction away from living in poverty.