- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Christmas came early last Saturday as hundreds of volunteers coordinated to spruce up and repair 18 houses.
The homes were located throughout St. Mary’s County from Mechanicsville to Scotland. The repairs done included new roofs, painting, yard work, floors, plumbing and more as part of the St. Mary’s County Christmas in April program.
“Everything went great,” said Darene Kleinsorgen, executive director of the charity. Good weather on Saturday contributed to high spirits at the work sites, and she said there were no injuries reported, despite the massive amount of work completed.
Kleinsorgen said there were about 1,200 volunteers out Saturday, including skilled and unskilled laborers. This year the organization provided some $50,000 to $75,000 in materials in addition to in-kind services, donations and volunteer labor.
Most of the homeowners are elderly and many are disabled, Kleinsorgen said. “They get to the point physically or mentally where they cannot keep up their homes,” she said.
Businesses, churches and other organizations sign up to pitch in every year on the third Saturday in April. This year volunteers included students from several high schools and St. Mary’s College of Maryland as well as trade unions, building contractors and several St. Mary’s home repair businesses.
Francis A. Berry has lived in his Mechanicsville home for 40 years. During the last few years, he said repairs have gotten away from him as his age prevented him from working. He pitched in a little on Saturday, as did some of his family members.
Late Saturday morning Berry walked around his yard as he looked at several dozen volunteers hard at work.
“I like it,” he said, adding that new siding put on made his home look new again.