The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 3, 2014

Home repair group seeks homeowners, volunteers, contributions for work day

PITTSBURG, Kan. — As Hearts and Hammers of Pittsburg Inc. gears up for an annual work day to benefit area homeowners, board members are hoping for a trifecta: homeowners who need help, volunteers willing to give it, and individuals and businesses able to contribute funding or materials.

In order to maximize human resources, the nonprofit group is for the second year planning a work day in coordination with the Big Event of Pittsburg State University to be held April 12.

“That really helped us last year get a lot of volunteers,” said organizer Jenny McCool-O’Dell, a former field worker and project manager in the construction industry who now teaches in the PSU School of Construction.

Organizers say the group could make repairs to as many as 10 homes.

“We are looking for homeowners who aren’t financially or physically able to do their own repairs,” McCool-O’Dell said. “That might be a senior citizen, a single parent, perhaps someone without access to tools or who is physically challenged, or maybe doesn’t have the skills.”

Application forms for homeowners are available at the Pittsburg City Hall Utilities Office, 201 W. Fourth St.; the Pittsburg Housing Office, 603 N. Pine St.; the Homer Cole Senior Citizen Center, 3003 N. Joplin St.; and the Pittsburg Salvation Army, 307 E. Fifth St. Hearts and Hammers must receive applications by Friday, Feb. 21.

The 12-member board will review the applications and choose homes by March; the number chosen, McCool-O’Dell said, will depend on what work is needed at each.

The board, composed of professionals and retired professionals from construction-related industries, will rank the applications based on need, the work to be performed and the estimated cost of the repairs.

Typical work includes minor plumbing, electrical, carpentry, scraping and painting, and general cleanup, McCool-O’Dell said. The work will be performed by community volunteers under the supervision of house captains who are experienced in construction.

The board will begin lining up volunteers in March. 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, McCool-O’Dell noted.

Skilled individuals who are good with carpentry, plumbing, painting and electrical work also are being sought to do the more complicated work.

After the initial push the day of the Big Event, a follow-up work day by Hearts and Hammers is set for April 19.

“That will be used to finish any work not completed the first Saturday,” McCool-O’Dell said.

In addition to homeowners and volunteers, the group is seeking contributions of money and materials from individuals and businesses. Last year, the number of properties that received services was down because of a decrease in operating capital, particularly in the form of grant awards previously received from the city of Pittsburg.

“This is a nonprofit organization, and as with most nonprofits these days, we are very limited on funds,” McCool-O’Dell said.

Donations

THOSE WHO WOULD LIKE TO CONTRIBUTE money or materials may contact Jenny McCool-O’Dell at 417-434-1339 or by email at jmccool@pittstate.edu.

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