For a summer where it’s rained almost every day, the Ellwood City Carpenter’s Project has been extremely fortunate.
This week has been mostly sunny and most of the rain has been in the evening, after the volunteers go home. In fact, in its 14 years, the Carpenter’s Project has never had a full day cancellation from rain, according to director Steve Miller.
“I refuse to believe that’s a coincidence,” Miller said.
The Carpenter’s Project is a volunteer annual project started and based at Calvin Presbyterian Church. The work crews repair the homes of those who are unable to do their own. Most of the projects involve painting or adding handicapped ramps or porch railings.
The 14th Annual Carpenter’s Project has over 200 volunteers this year: 45 teenagers, 65 adults and another 100 working offsite. A total of 19 crews will work on roughly 75 projects at 50 homes.
There are eight paint crews, seven carpentry crews, and one each for brush, power washing, cement and windows. The offsite workers include preparing meals, delivering supplies to the crews and operations from Calvin Presbyterian.
Miller, who is on his fourth year as director and his 10th year of involvement, said the project is an entire community effort. Local churches and businesses pitch in resources and volunteers come from all over Lawrence and Beaver Counties.
Volunteers are either teenagers on summer vacation, retired adults, adults with available time in the summer (such as teachers), and some adults who take time off work.
“For me, the youth volunteers are always impressive,” Miller said. “They’re taking time off summer vacation to help people they don’t know.”
For the youth volunteers, the Carpenter’s Project isn’t just an opportunity to help the community, but to learn some skills, such as painting and basic carpentry.
Sydney Shurtz, a Lincoln senior, is on her fifth year of volunteering. This year, she is part of Tom Milnes’ paint crew.
“I love seeing how appreciative the homeowners are, and the people I work with are great. It’s why I keep coming back,” Shurtz said.
Milnes, who is on his tenth year of volunteering, said his crew gets an excellent crash course in painting, and the homeowners are always appreciative.
Advertising for the Carpenter’s Project starts in April. The project itself runs from Monday through Friday with a half-day on Wednesday.