The Renew Crew Rockin’ Fall Festival is Saturday
A volunteer group that makes minor home repairs for at risk people to be able to remain in their homes and live safe and independent lives is inviting the public to come to the Carillon on Saturday.
The Renew Crew is the volunteer arm of ElderHomes Corporation. Since 1998, they’ve helped more than 1700 families. Saturday’s festival, with clowns, a moon bounce and live music, will be at the Carillion from 10 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon.
Swatlowski: It's called the 'Rockin' with Renew Crew' fall festival.
Wayne Swatlowski is the Volunteer Director.
Swatlowski: It's really an attempt on our part to get the word out to the community about the Renew Crew and the work we do, especially for low-income households.
This year, the Renew Crew has logged more than 1500 volunteer hours doing everything from:
Swatlowski: Simple things as raking up a yard or cutting back an overgrown yard for someone, all the way through repairing porches, putting up gutters, painting the first floor exterior of a home that's peeling, putting up railings, grab bars, all the way to building and installing wheelchair ramps for folks, so it's a real array of services and it's all done by the generosity of volunteers from our community.
The Crew has also built and installed 114 wheelchair ramps.
Swatlowski: We concentrate on minor home repairs and accessibility improvements for low-income households, with the intent of helping people stay within their homes, especially the elderly, and age in place without having to go into assisted-living facilities prematurely.
The volunteers come from all walks of life.
Swatlowski: From the faith community, coming from social organizations like Rotary Clubs, Lions' Clubs, corporations, businesses.
The need, Swatlowski said, exceeds the number of volunteers and the Renew Crew is constantly recruiting.
Swatlowski: Every first Monday of the month, and it will be coming up on Monday, November the first, we have an orientation for interested persons right here at our office, 88 Carnation Street. The zip code is 23225, and we have that orientation for just an hour, 5:30 to 6:30 pm. There's no commitment required from folks, but it'll give 'em an opportunity to find out about who we are and what we do and see if it's a match for them.
Right now, there are more than 150 disabled people on a waiting list for a wheelchair ramp.
Swatlowski: When I first started ten years ago, we did 50 projects with volunteers, and this past year, we did 295. Ten years ago, we used, oh, 25 volunteers, and this past year, we used over a thousand volunteers, many of which worked more than just one time during the year.
The Renew Crew, Swatlowski pointed out, is funded by the private sector and receives no public money. The upside of that, he said, is that the work can be scheduled when volunteers are available and supplies will be in place. The downside is that corporate sponsors have to be signed up each year.
Learn more online at therenewcrew.org.
John Ogle, WCVE News