Few endeavors are as satisfying as encouraging hearts, providing hope and delivering assistance to grateful recipients. Our experience with Rebuilding Together has been one of the highlights of the year and a real opportunity to support the community and the valuable people in it.
Rebuilding Together believes in a safe and healthy home for every person. To that end they rally volunteers and resources for home rehabilitation projects. They provide free maintenance and repairs to less-advantaged homeowners in Thurston County.
The project assigned to the SCJ Alliance team involved upgrades to a local widow’s home in need of cosmetic and structural maintenance. And we couldn’t have had a more grateful recipient.
At 8am more than a dozen SCJ volunteers arrived wearing their best Saturday morning yard-work clothes. Our team quickly downed the complimentary coffee and muffins, signed forms, donned our soon-to-be dirtied Rebuilding Together t-shirts and assembled for a quick outline of the day’s activities.
It takes a special person to develop young volunteers into a fluid, efficient work force. Those of us who had included our children wondered how they would take to the experience. Rebuilding Together Project Coordinator Diane Springer did an outstanding job of not only organizing us, but making the three teenage boys feel welcomed and valued.
Diane introduced us to the owner, identified our skills, created work groups and assigned tasks. Soon power tools were humming, weed-eaters buzzing, bodies straining and team members laughing. From time-to-time, the delightful owner would insist we take a minute to eat a home-made sandwich or offer a vacuum, screwdriver or hammer.
Flower beds soon appeared where they had been overgrown with grass and weeds. New fascia boards replaced decayed, barely hanging weathered trim. Bright red paint replaced flaking and absent color. Roof-lines were straightened and windows again slid open with ease. In the water damaged hallway, new lights and ceiling tiles were replaced.
One by one, each of the tasks were completed. Around noon a final pressure washing gave the home a fresh, Spring-clean look. Mission accomplished! Rebuilding Together’s mission that is, of bringing together volunteers and communities to help low income homeowners live in warmth, safety and independence.
As we rolled up the gear, we could hear the boys talking fondly of the tasks they had been given and the people they worked with. They grinned as they surveyed the now transformed yard and house. “That was fun!,” they said. We all had to agree.
What made it special? The volunteers, the people and especially the owner. Her gratitude was manifested in her constant smile and was emphasized in her parting comment as we drove away…. “Love you!”