Tuesday, January 19, 2010

MLK weekend a “huge success” for local homeowners

Volunteer! Decatur coordinator Lee Ann Harvey reports that this weekend’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Project was a major success. The annual event helps Decatur’s senior residents by making greatly needed interior repairs and doing yard work that they have been unable to do, which helps the elderly to remain in their homes safely, comfortably, and affordably. I got Lee Ann’s permission to share part of an update that she emailed out last night (and I made some of her lines bold):
We may have had rain two out of three days this weekend, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of approximately 1,180 volunteers who came out to do home repairs and yard work for senior citizens during the 8th annual Decatur Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Project this weekend. This project is held by the Decatur Preservation Alliance in partnership with the City of Decatur and with the assistance of numerous nonprofit organizations, businesses, skilled tradespeople, places of worship, and other organizations.

We initially planned to do repairs on 11 homes. Since the weekend was progressing so well, we added two more homes on Monday that needed more minimal repairs. So, volunteers ended up doing repairs on 13 homes. All but a couple of those homes (one was a condo) also had yard work done.

Thanks to an eager workforce, volunteers did yard work on 37 additional homes for a grand total of 50 senior citizens’ homes worked on this weekend. In addition, volunteers did yard work for the people with disabilities who live in the PRI homes behind the Solarium. There was so much yard waste that approximately 2,500 yard waste bags were used and there were numerous additional piles of brush.

These seniors can now live more safely, comfortably and economically in their homes thanks to much needed repairs that include:
  • Handicap ramp that was designed and built to allow a senior who had a stroke last year to be able to get in and out of her home. This 96-year-old woman was grateful that she no longer had to be afraid that she would be unable to get out of her home.
  • An original front stoop had deteriorated so much that it was a health and structural hazard. It was repaired to look like new but to still maintain its original architectural integrity.
  • Moisture infiltration issues were alleviated and damage repaired to prevent health issues from mold and mildew. 
  • Completely rebuilt steps, handrails and landings outside two homes to allow back door access.
  • Installed smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Performed numerous plumbing and electrical repairs. Many of the skilled tradespeople worked on the project the entire weekend.
  • Replaced lots and lots of rotten wood. 
  • Repaired and replaced caulking. 
  • Replaced old light bulbs with new energy efficient ones. 
  • Increased seniors’ safety by repairing and replacing doors and door hardware and locks, as well as repairing and replacing windows and fixing broken window locks.
Lee Ann also thanked many people for their hard work including all the volunteers, the Food Committee, a Girl Scouts, Southface volunteers, a large volunteer group from a homeless shelter run by an Atlanta church, city manager Peggy Merriss, the City Commission, and city staff including Paul Wells and Patrick Grier who served as house captains.

More details about the annual project are available here. Updates and photos from this weekend are available at Decatur News Online here and Decatur Metro here.

1 comment:

  1. I've volunteered every year for the past 4 years and always have so much fun. It's so unbelievably encouraging to see hundreds of community members turn up and volunteer their time. A big thanks to Lee Ann and her team for making it happen!