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Inaugural ‘West Hartford Day of Caring’ is June 2

Volunteers and professional contractors are joining forces to help West Hartford neighbors in need with projects on the first ever Day of Caring.

Submitted

On June 2, a group of West Hartford businesses and residents will volunteer their time, experience, and materials to provide basic home maintenance services to help the elderly, disabled, and veterans as part of a West Hartford Day of Caring.

This is the first year for this community effort. Five homes are on the list for help with projects that include yard cleanup; installing or repairing railings; cleaning and repairing windows; and installing smoke alarms, as well as minor repairs to gutters and interior ceilings.

The effort is being coordinated by a group of volunteers spearheaded by Catherine Yandow Davis, owner of Bartlett Brainard Products, a home improvement contractor located in West Hartford. Davis had been active in a parallel program in Farmington and sought to create something similar in West Hartford.

Using her business network and the Neighbors and Friends in West Hartford Facebook page, Davis gathered interest and the group began meeting in January.

“It’s been a great process getting people involved,” Davis said. “There were others who have wanted to do something like this and it seemed like we just picked the right time to get the ball rolling.” Davis added that the group hopes to make this a yearly event. “We’re very happy with our start, and we hope this will grow each year.”

Davis said that a key element to making the event work has been the donations of time and skill from area professionals and from members of her own team. “We owe thanks to so many people who reached out to those who requested assistance and visited with them to view and assess the projects.” Davis noted that, in many cases, contracting professionals involved in the project reached out to their own networks to recruit additional partners or to secure other donations. “There would not be a Day of Caring without their help,” Davis said.

Davis noted that Jason Clatterbuck, owner of Homestead Improvement & Design, LLC, and John Furmanek, owner of Handy Daddy LLC, were especially important to the success of the project’s inaugural year. “Both Jason and John have already spent a great deal of time and effort on reviewing projects with homeowners and completing special projects for them that are beyond the skill of our average volunteer,” Davis said. “They’ve done great work, donating not just their time, but the materials they needed to complete this important advance work.”

“I’ve met some wonderful people doing this project,” Clatterbuck said. “The homeowners I’ve worked with have been glad to receive the help and the volunteers in the group represent what’s so great about the community spirit in West Hartford.”

Others are donating materials and tools, and in some cases, their own time or have employees donating time. Among the businesses participating through donations, time, or both are M.F. Moore Construction; Homestead Improvement & Design, LLC; Mr. Lock Magic; Bartlett Brainard Products; Wil-Pat Interior Finishes; Steve Langan Painting; Simply Landscaping; and Handy Daddy LLC. Companies donating supplies and equipment include Sanford and Hawley; ABC Supply; Capitol Glass; and All Waste. Davis noted that the American Red Cross is also participating, with volunteers who will install smoke alarms in participating homes and provide fire safety information to homeowners.

We need the materials and skills that these companies and the people behind them are supplying,” Davis said. “But we have also been fortunate to have a great team of volunteers step up to participate in the planning, to spread the word in the community, and to help organize the day.”

Volunteers will also be out in force on June 2, helping with tasks at each of the properties. Davis said there are currently approximately 20 volunteers who have responded to help, but more are welcome.

“We will meet Saturday morning to set final work assignments. Anyone who wants to volunteer may do so but must register ahead of time. Email us at [email protected] to get on the roster.”

Two other organizations were especially helpful in supporting the effort. “We’re grateful to the West Hartford Senior Center at Bishops Corner, especially Gina Marino, for giving us space to host our planning meetings,” Davis said. “And the Elmwood Community Church and Susan Wiley have graciously agreed to host our gathering on the Day of Caring and to provide the organizational support that helped us make this event happen.”

The inaugural “A Day of Caring for West Hartford” is June 2. The event is rain or shine. Volunteers will spend the day assisting homeowners who are elderly, disabled, or veterans and who are have limited incomes with projects that will help them remain comfortable and safe in their homes. Projects include yard cleanups; window washing and repair; light painting; minor gutter and ceiling repairs; hand rail installations or repairs; door lock and latch repairs; smoke alarm installations; and more.

Volunteers will gather at 8 a.m. to get instructions, materials, and tools, and will be assigned to their projects. Volunteers will work alongside professionals who have also donated their time and skill to complete the projects. Volunteers are welcome, but must register before the event, by emailing [email protected]. After registering, volunteers will be provided details on where to meet.

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