Rebuilding Together: It's All About Helping Your Neighbor

by Mary Brewer, Managing Editor

Last weekend was a fun time here in the region, with the observance of the 30th annual Fishermen's Festival. This weekend, an entirely different type of activity will be underway - one much more subtle, but with a powerful impact. Rebuilding Together, an organization formed only last year locally (nationally, it's been around for awhile, and already has 260 affiliates working in over 865 towns) will be helping deserving local families with projects they are unable to accomplish themselves.

The local Rebuilding Together volunteers will be repainting a house, installing flooring in a kitchen, building one porch and rebuilding another, doing some exterior work to a house, renovating a bathroom, installing windows, tearing down an old barn, landscaping, making some electrical and plumbing improvements, replacing a bulkhead and completing other projects throughout the region.

Last year, they power washed and painted the exterior of a home, painted a kitchen, installed new lighting, and removed a badly deteriorated home and relocated its tenants. They've since poured a slab for a trailer to go on the property, and hope to install it soon, so the tenants can return to the property they've called home for over 45 years - this time with hot running water and an inside bathroom.
We all talk about the importance of being good neighbors and helping those who need it, but Rebuilding Together's volunteers have stepped forward to make a big difference in their community. Their goal: to insure that low-income homeowners live in warmth and safety and can maintain their independence. This Saturday, when they've completed the projects on this year's list, we're confident these hard-working, compassionate people will go to sleep with a deep sense of satisfaction - the kind that only comes when you've given of yourself to help someone else.
They're always looking for volunteers, and there are scores of jobs you can fill, even if you're not able to climb a ladder or paint a house. To sign up, call Sally (Mrs. Howard) Barter, 633-6063. If you're in a position to help financially, to enable the group to purchase some of the materials needed to complete their projects, send along a check to Rebuilding Together (it's a tax deductible, 501(c)(3) organization), P.O. Box 22, Boothbay Harbor, Maine 04538. As Robert Putnam, a leading authority on communities, said: "Institutional reform will not work - indeed, it will not happen - unless you and I, along with our fellow citizens, resolve to become reconnected with our friends and neighbors."