'She's worth it': Moorhead woman gets new home to meet unique needs thanks to donors, nonprofit

Life is changing Tuesday, Jan 17, for a 32-year-old Moorhead woman WDAY News first met just over a year ago.

Lizzy Bennett, 32, center, smiles as she looks at a room in her new house, with her mother, Clare Garberg, left, and CCRI residential coordinator, Caylie Layne. CCRI raised over $300,000 for Lizzy's unique house.
We are part of The Trust Project.

MOORHEAD — Lizzy Bennett finally has her own home that's specially equipped for her unique needs.

She was slated to spend her first night there Tuesday, Jan. 17, and the Creative Care for Reaching Independence client got to see it for the first time that day.

CCRI staff welcomed Bennett as she entered her new home for the big reveal. CCRI serves 400 clients who have special needs including 112 who have 24-hour service.

"Want to check out this painting, see what is on this wall?" CCRI residential coordinator Caylie Layne asked Bennett.

For the past three years, CCRI raised just over $300,000 from hundreds of donors who wanted to help Bennett have a home that would suit her needs.


In an interview with WDAY News in 2021, Bennett's mom, Clare Garberg, spoke about how things like air conditioners had to be firmly secured, otherwise her daughter could pull them down.

Bennett's apartment had been stripped of almost everything because of her emotional issues.

She is going from a dark, sparse apartment to a bright place to call her own.

"I know that Liz is going to be much calmer living in a place that has natural light, and it's just so beautiful," Garberg said.

There is no other place like it. Bennett, 32, is sweet and loved by everyone at CCRI, but she has lived with medical and emotional issues her entire life. The biggest safety concerns are behaviors that included ripping knobs and cupboard doors off hinges, and eating items like glass and furniture stuffing. Surgery was required at times, so this new house makes all of that impossible.

It's comforting "knowing that she will be in a safe environment, knowing that her staff will have a great environment to provide care to," Garberg said.

The TV is encased behind plexiglass. The lights are recessed and outlets are located on the ceiling. And there are no kitchen knobs.

More from WDAY's Kevin Wallevand
It started with a few bank employees who wanted to help. Some 15 years later, Bell Bank's Pay It Forward program has led to employees donating $25 million to groups and individuals.

Nothing can be peeled away, the trim around the windows is glued and nailed, and because the house cannot have shades or draperies, they are built into the window glass.


The only things on the walls are painted murals of her family.

"(I am) a little nervous," Bennett said, looking around her new home.

Her favorite room might be her new sensory room, a place where she can find calm during difficult times. The lights change colors, and there is a giant bean bag to lay on.

CCRI staff will live there with Bennett 24/7. Family, like her mom, who was a nurse at what was then Meritcare and later adopted Lizzy, is in awe at the funds CCRI raised and all they did to make this happen for her daugher.

"She's worth it. Her life is worth it," Garberg said.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

Contact Email:
Phone Number: (701) 241-5317
What To Read Next
Public works crews repaired two water main breaks in Moorhead on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
People in need of food in North Dakota and Clay County, Minnesota, increased 14% in 2022, and donations were down 25% for Great Plains Food Bank.
Members Only
“There’s a lot of cats roaming the streets,” Fargo’s Community Service Officer LaVern Aventi said. She estimates that a CSO might spend around 50% of their time on animal control.
The group meets monthly and welcomes anyone dealing with sight loss and their family members.