Tools to make a
Saratoga Springs -- Group called Rebuilding Together to repair
homes of low-income, elderly and disabled persons
DOOLEY, Staff writer
First published: Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Rebuilding Together, a national volunteer-based program to repair and
rehabilitate the homes of low income, elderly and disabled homeowners,
has begun a chapter in Saratoga County.
Michelle Larkin, chapter president, said as a church youth leader she
brought groups of teens to repair homes for the elderly and low-income
groups in different areas of the United States.
"It was a great experience but we knew there must be projects and
people needing help in our own back yard," she said.
Members of the Presbyterian-New England Congregational Church met and
the affiliate incorporated in December.
"I'm amazed at the caring and compassion of the people on our
board," said Larkin, adding that many are getting involved in
The chapter plans to undertake five to seven projects this year. The
goal is to finish the work during the weekend of April 24-25 to
coincide with the national organization's National Rebuilding Day.
Volunteers get together that weekend around the country to repair and
rehabilitate homes and work at nonprofit community centers. Unskilled
volunteers join with skilled tradespeople to paint, clean, weatherize
and do carpentry, plumbing and electrical work.
Larkin said referrals for assistance have been coming in. Board
members have been visiting potential work sites and are working with
different agencies such as the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity
Council and local churches to find candidates.
"We're seeing people with floors that are so bad, you can see the
ground, or their walls have holes in them," she said.
Roofs are a problem. And many residences need bathroom work and
painting. Generally, the elderly requiring assistance have been unable
to perform the necessary maintenance work on their homes.
In 2003, almost 250 Rebuilding Together affiliates fixed up more 8,050
houses and nonprofit community centers.
Since an average project is estimated to cost from $3,000 to $3,500,
an organization may sponsor an entire project or individuals may help
by donating money or materials.
"It's everybody working together in a community spirit and
camaraderie. It's more than just helping your neighbor," Larkin
"There's a lot of need right here and the people who want to
help. Donations have already come in and we expect to seek help from
businesses," said Marian Bigelow, committee chairperson.
Workers, sponsors, donations of materials and funds are being sought.