Home Works crews ready to provide repairs
A team of helping hands is readying to head out to assist some of Aiken County's neediest residents next week.
Aiken coordinator Jeff Bair is preparing for the next session of Home Works, which runs from Sunday to Saturday, June 26. The team of adults, older teens and middle-schoolers will camp in the parish life center of St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church and go in teams to 11 home-repair work sites throughout the area.
"Home Works is a non-denominational Christian organization. Our mission is to go out into the community and provide free home repairs to the needy, the destitute and the elderly in our community, and to show God's love to others," Bair said. "We do a one-week session every summer and two one-day sessions, in the spring and fall. This year I have about 55 high school and early college-age volunteers, 35 adults, and I also have about 18 middle school kids for a three-day middle school session during the week."
The Home Works team has collected potential work sites through Bair's participation in the United Way's Project Vision committee, which keeps a database of project possibilities, through applications from homeowners, and through word of mouth. Building materials are bought at Lowe's, which gives the Home Works team a 10 percent discount; the purchases are subsidized by registration fees of $200 per volunteer for the week, and from donations provided by the community, according to Bair.
"We take on large, medium and small projects," he said. "We do a lot of reroofing of homes, complete remodeling of kitchens and bathrooms, interior and exterior painting, window repair, siding repair, just about everything you can think of except electrical work. We have a plumber who assists with the plumbing repairs."
One of the most revelatory aspects of the work for the younger team members is the faith and happiness of the homeowners, even in the midst of difficulties, according to Bair.
"First of all, it's an eye-opener for them to see the conditions in which some of our neighbors live," he said. "They learn a lot from the homeowners. Typically our homeowners have a very strong faith in the Lord, even in light of their poor economic situation. They learn that it's important, as the Lord teaches us, to help those less fortunate; it's our responsibility. Teenagers sometimes tend to be self-centered, and this experience is the complete opposite -- they go outside of themselves for a week."
Bair said the team is still accepting donations for the upcoming week of projects, if anyone would like to get involved. Bair can be reached for information on donating or volunteering at (803) 439-3074 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Suzanne Stone at email@example.com.