James Anderson of Lancashire, England, went into the plumbing and heating business to help people. For over 20 years he’s done just that, both on the clock and off.
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Back in 2017, he went to a home without heat and learned that an unscrupulous heating company had tried to scam the elderly and disabled homeowner out of $7,500.
He fixed their heating problem and refused to accept payment, but the experience got him thinking. Soon, he resolved to do something about scams like these by founding Depher, LTD, which stands for Disabled and Elderly Plumbing and Heating Emergency Response. Depher pairs volunteer plumbers across the U.K. with society’s most vulnerable members, offering all their services free of charge. Since 2017, they’ve helped over 10,000 people, and their work is just beginning!
“We started off just doing plumbing and heating, but we saw so many people struggling it felt like it was wrong to stop there,” James said. “Anything we can do, we will try to do.”
In addition to doing traditional jobs to pay his bills, James spends up to 70 hours each week doing pro bono work and doesn’t ever take a day off.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, James picked up his efforts to help those in need. Depher now delivers packages of food and PPE and even helps people cover their home expenses.
In the past year alone, James has spent about $78,000 of his own money to get everything done, but he said the out-of-pocket price is “worth every penny.”
“If you’ve got disabilities, issues, sometimes these things can become too difficult to overcome, and we want to make sure they’re taken care of,” he said.
James has an ongoing fundraiser to help his neighbors get through the winter. “It’s going to be so cold these months and people will need heating,” he explained.
“Doing all of this has made me realize the reality of our communities, the amount of people who are struggling,” James continued. “And you can’t just sit by and do nothing.”
He feels his charitable work is just part of our “social responsibility to each other,” and seeing the reactions of the people he helps makes all the long hours worthwhile. Just knowing that everyone he meets will go to bed in a warm, safe home is enough.
James is the perfect example of someone who saw an injustice and couldn’t rest until he found a way to right the wrong. It’s comforting to know people like him are out there helping others every day!
Learn more about Depher in the video below, and share this story to raise awareness for James’ important work.
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