By: Amparo O'Connell
Annually, during the last weekend of April, volunteer groups can be seen all over the DC metropolitan area wearing Rebuilding Together t-shirts and swarming local homes to complete much needed tasks such as painting and landscaping. Since 1996 Pathway Homes has participated in the Washington, DC Rebuilding Together Project, formerly known as Christmas in April. This year was no exception, and our home for eight women in Springfield benefitted from the work of many hands.
Rebuilding Together’s mission is to utilize volunteer groups to rehabilitate homes for low-income elderly and disabled homeowners and for nonprofit facilities that are 501(c)(3) community service organizations. Corporations and other groups raise funds and provide sponsorship fees in order to cover the cost of the materials and ensure that all work is done by volunteers at no cost to the homeowner or the nonprofit. This has always been one of the largest volunteer events that Pathways participates in, benefitting from the kindness and generosity of these volunteers who give up their weekend in order to help those in need.
Pathway Homes requested a group to help with a large bungalow home in Springfield, and we were fortunate to be matched with the Church of The Good Shepherd in Burke, VA. Pathway Homes has had a close relationship with the Church over the past five years and has benefitted by being able to use their expansive fellowship hall for large meetings, receptions, and the annual Holiday Party for our consumers and their families and friends. Patti Klein from Rebuilding Together and Scott Burke, the team captain for Good Shepherd, met with us several times to assess the work to be completed, plan for supplies and the number of volunteers needed.
The scope of work included cleaning gutters; pressure washing the deck, patios and walk ways; painting the hallway, foyer and office; replacing the overgrown corner herb garden with grass seed; in addition to weeding, trimming and cleaning flower beds in the front and back yards.
On April 28, 2012, between 8 am to 4 pm, 30 to 40 volunteers and Pathway Homes staff, worked tirelessly inside and outside the house, weeding, power washing, mulching and seeding, and painting. The old overgrown herb garden was turned into a beautiful lawn, the flower beds were cleaned and mulched and the landscape in front of the house was groomed, mulched and cleaned. The volunteers even left a makeshift sprinkler system with a timer so that residents did not have to remember to water the new grass. In just one week, the newly planted grass covered the lawn and the back yard became an inviting place for residents to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
Much effort, time and commitment went into organizing this huge event and all the work that was completed. We are thankful for the Rebuilding Together Project and the matching of volunteer groups like The Church of the Good Shepherd with Pathway Homes. The work that these volunteers complete saves us hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars which we can use to fund programs that help residents in their path to recovery.
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