Archive for Wednesday, July 26, 2000

Neighbors Helping Neighbors accepting applications for fall

July 26, 2000

It's again time for the "Neighbors Helping Neighbors" program, administered by area Methodist Churches and Baker University students, to get ready for its fall kickoff.

The program has been offered for the last eight years through the Trailside Parish of the United Methodist Church and Baker. It brings volunteer labor to homes in the parish which need work done that the residents are either unable to do physically or because of financial need.

Heading up the effort is the Rev. Ira DeSpain, university minister at Baker, who coordinates the parish churches with the students. The group accepts applications which are due this year on Aug. 1 and then decides what projects to take on.

"It's actually modeled after a program in Kansas City called Christmas in October," said DeSpain. "We do things for people who are unable to do them themselves because of physical or monetary reasons."

Churches in the parish include First United Methodist and Ives Chapel United Methodist in Baldwin; United Methodist churches in Vinland, Clearfield, Wellsville, Edgerton and Eudora; and the Baker students.

"We've done something in each community every year," he said. "Each year we've worked on seven or eight houses in the parish. Quite often it's scrapping and painting all in one day. There is also carpentry work, such as rebuilding decks, and we also clear brush and do other clean up."

Last year in Baldwin, the group rebuilt the porch on Sam and Frances Hill's home at 703 10th Street and also added a ramp to the porch to make it easier to get to. The "good neighbors" also cleared some brush and did some other yard work for the Hills.

"That's a good example of what we do," DeSpain said of the project at the Hills.

Generally, the group only spends a day at a house, but the Hill project took a little longer. The group usually has 10-20 members.

"We like to have an equal number of college students and church folks," he said. "One of the side goals is to get those two groups together and get them to know each other. Typically, there are 10 college students and five to 10 church people."

Applications for the work can be picked up at the Baldwin State Bank, Kansas State Bank, The Baldwin City Public Library, Baldwin City Hall or the Methodist churches. The applications must then be returned by Aug. 1 to Neighbors Helping Neighbors, P.O. Box 34, Edgerton, KS, 66021.

"The next week the projects will be chosen and on Sept. 9 the work will be done," said DeSpain. "We've worked on about 80 houses over the years."

It isn't the only community service project that DeSpain and the Baker students are involved in.

"In the late fall, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we organize a leaf raking day for the students," he said. "That will be the next thing."

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