The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 4, 2013

Volunteers to do home repairs at seven Pittsburg properties

PITTSBURG, Kan. — The first of two work days this year for Hearts and Hammers of Pittsburg Inc. will take place Saturday, beginning at 10:30 a.m. in coordination with The Big Event of Pittsburg State University.

“This provides an opportunity for other volunteers from the community to work alongside the 120 volunteers from The Big Event that will be assigned to our home projects,” said Jenny McCool-O’Dell, co-executive director of Hearts and Hammers.

The volunteer charitable organization performs home repairs on properties whose owners are physically or financially unable to do the work themselves.

Volunteers from the community may sign up between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the entrance lobby of the Kansas Technology Center, by the flagpoles near the intersection of Ford and Rouse streets.

Signs will direct people from the parking area to the lobby. Volunteers will be assigned to one of the seven properties selected for work this year and will proceed directly to their assigned work sites. Water, snacks and lunch will be provided at each house, courtesy of the Pittsburg Knights of Columbus.

After a safety briefing at each house, volunteers will work from about 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Most of the work will involve scraping old paint and applying a fresh coat, as well as yard cleanup.

McCool-O’Dell said the number of properties receiving services is down this year because of a decrease in revenues.

“The city of Pittsburg has awarded us at least $5,000 annually in recent years, but the earnings from that fund are down and they could not make grant awards this year,” she said. “We are essentially operating on the funds we had left from last year.”

The organization has added a new twist this year. There will be a second work day from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20. The second work day will be used to finish any work not completed this Saturday. McCool-O’Dell said the organization had learned in recent years that volunteers were reluctant to spend an entire day of their weekend on a project.

Reducing the duration of the work time and adding a second day allows volunteers to alternate dates and times for contributing their efforts.

“The total amount of time spent on the houses is about the same, but it will be spread over two days and a broader base of volunteers,” McCool-O’Dell said.

Hearts and Hammers officials emphasize that no special skills are required. Anyone older than 12 who can scrape, paint, rake, trim or shovel will find plenty to do during the work day.

Skilled people who are good with carpentry, plumbing, painting and electrical work also are welcome to do the more complicated work. Each of the seven houses will be assigned a captain to oversee the work and coordinate the volunteers.

People or businesses that are interested in donating to help cover costs of the work days may contact Steve Robb, co-executive director, at 620-235-1874 or 620-687-4748.

Second work day

VOLUNTEER SIGN-UP FORMS for the second work day are available at the Pittsburg Utilities office at 201 W. Fourth St. or the City Housing Office at Sixth and Pine streets. Walk-in registration also will be available on April 20.

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