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Repair Affair impacts our backyards

On Oct. 9, from east to west and north to south in Harrison County, the pinging of hammers driving nails, the squishing of wet brushes slapping on another coat of paint, the whining of a cordless drill and the chinking of shovels breaking up the soil rang out on a cool, crisp morning.
The work wasn’t being done as part of fall spruce-ups, but as part of the 13th annual Repair Affair, a one-day blitz repair program that helps low-income, elderly and disabled residents make repairs or improvements such as paint, door repair, window replacement, gutters, roof repairs, hand-rails and wheelchair ramps to their homes.
This year, more than 300 volunteers helped complete various jobs at 34 different sites, bringing the overall total of homes repaired to 327 since Repair Affair was started in Harrison County in 1998. In addition to the volunteers, a number of businesses chipped in by giving discounts on supplies for the projects or perhaps by simply make a monetary donation.
On one hand, the amount of work that’s been done in 13 days is astonishing. On the other hand, 327 homes repaired doesn’t sound like a lot. After all, nearly two billion people around the world live in slum housing and more than 100 million are homeless. The service provided by Repair Affair is hardly a drop in the bucket when looked at on a global scale.
But we have to start somewhere, and there’s no better place to serve than in our own backyards.
When people volunteer for Repair Affair, they are not only helping a neighbor who needs them, they are making a real and immediate impact in their own community.
Most of the people who volunteer have extensive knowledge about how to tackle a wide variety of jobs. But even if you don’t have that kind of technical know-how, if you can pound a nail, swing a paint brush, push a paint scraper or simply drive a car to pick up additional supplies or make a lunch run, then you, too, can be a part of Repair Affair.
No professional skills are required. Anyone in good physical condition can assist with labor projects.
There’s no pay outside of a T-shirt, a pancake breakfast and a few snacks or lunch. There doesn’t need to be, because the real payment comes when tears fill a homeowner’s eyes when they can use a ramp to get out of their home for the first time in years; or if the 4-year-old daughter of a homeowner starts singing a song about how you are working; or maybe there’s the offer of a handshake and a ‘Thank you.’
So, go ahead and pencil in the second Saturday of October as the day you give back to your community and help those less fortunate folks who have chased the American dream and can’t do or afford home repairs themselves. A few hours out of your day can make a lifetime of difference for your neighbor.
For more information about Repair Affair of Harrison County or to express an interest in volunteering, contact Karolyn Mangeot at 952-2273.